School Board discusses ACLU suit

Executive session called, no action taken

The Webster Parish School Board held its first meeting of the year Monday evening.

The board moved through every item on the agenda with very little discussion or objection. The majority of the meeting was spent in an executive session to discuss the Cole v. Webster Parish School Board lawsuit that has garnered much attention in recent weeks. As with any executive session, no official action was taken.

Jesse Williamson, a member of the school board custodial staff, was awarded Employee of the Month for the month of December 2017. Rodney Taylor of Taylor & Sons presented the award.

“Mr. Williamson is a jack of all trades,” Taylor read from a statement. “He is dedicated and hardworking to the call of maintenance. Whenever there is a breakdown at the central office or one of the schools, Mr. Williamson is there taking care of business with a beautiful smile and a lovely personality.”

The board approved Altec Environmental Consulting LLC for the asbestos abatement at J.A. Phillips Middle School. They also approved the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement for accounting software and the payment of just over $72,000 to Homeland Safety Systems for a service agreement for all Webster Parish schools. All of these measures were adopted unanimously and without discussion.

During his report, Superintendent Johnny Rowland updated the board on how the parish faculty spent its last day before school reopens Tuesday.

“We had what I thought was a very productive professional development activity today here in Webster Parish,” Rowland said. “All of our teachers and administrators attended a half-day session at North Webster Upper Elementary today, where we had a guest speaker that basically talked about bullying. I thought it was well worth the time – the speaker was excellent, and I thought there was good discussion and interaction between the audience and the speaker.”

Rowland said when it comes to approaching bullying in schools, times are changing.

“We’re in a period of time where we may say ‘boys are going to be boys’ or ‘that happened to me when I was a kid, so why can’t it happen now?’” he said. “But we can’t have that approach today, not with social media and all the other avenues of correspondence that our kids have. I thought it was a very meaningful experience today.”

Rowland also updated the board on the condition of Kevin Washington, assistant superintendent. Washington is undergoing physical rehab after receiving surgery on a herniated disc shortly after Christmas.

“He is a valuable asset to us in the role that he’s been in this year, and he’s done a wonderful job,” Rowland said. “We’re ready for him to get back.”



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