They’re putting it off for now after a week-long discussion about shutting down three elementary schools in rural areas.
Three schools: Grand Prairie, Palmetto, and Washington Elementary were on the chopping block Thursday. After parents and teachers voiced their concerns at the school board meeting, the board ultimately decided to table their decision to close them down.
“Save our schools, save our schools!” teachers and parents chanted before the meeting.
“I love my school,” four-year-old Lilah Melancon added.
Melancon’s teacher at Grand Prairie Elemtary, Michelle Morein, said shutting their school down would be devastating.
“It would have been the world to these kids. It’s amazing, just the thought of leaving those rooms empty and no children being in those rooms ever again,” Morein added.
The Principal of Grand Prarie Elementary, Patricia Montgomery, agreed, saying it wouldn’t make sense to close the school down.
“We are just one of the top schools in the parish. Why would you destroy your top schools? Your community schools, we need our community schools. We’re devastated because we need our community schools. The schools are the heart of our community,” she said.
“St. Landry Parish is a rural parish, so you’re going to have rural schools. We need our rural schools,” Montgomery added.
Patricia Gauthier, a teacher at Washington Elementary, also couldn’t believe the school board was even considering it.
“When I heard they might be shutting the schools down, it really broke my heart because I really love the kids. I love the community. I love everything about Washington Elementary,” Gauthier told News Ten.
The teachers at the three schools on the chopping block Thursday night say though the school board decided not to shut down the schools today, they fear what will happen in the future.
“Community schools are the heart of education, and like I said, we won the battle tonight, and we will continue to fight. We will not stop fighting. We will fight with every breath in our body,” Principal Montgomery added.
School board member Anthony Standberry says he doesn’t want to close any schools, as we’re just coming out of a pandemic, and he wants the children to have more stability.
“I got on this board, and my motto was children first. I’m still on children first. That’s where I plan to stay. I won’t say it won’t come up because we may have some hard things to do in the future, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon,” Standberry said.
He says there are no plans in the upcoming meetings to further discuss closing down the schools.