Is Pointe Coupee Central High Safe?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 7:32pm

Two incidents in as many weeks raises concerns about security at schools run by Advance Baton Rouge. In the most recent case, students at Pointe Coupee Central High went back to class today. Deputies placed the school on lockdown yesterday after a teacher heard a student had a gun on campus. The Sheriff’s Office never found a gun, but deputies arrested one of the students at the school.

Pointe Coupee Sheriff, Bud Torres, says, “Anytime we have a threat anything of this magnitude or nature you’ve got my attention and the full gravity of Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office.” The Sheriff’s Office and school officials say their investigation is on-going. They believe a student did have a gun on campus, but they haven’t been able to locate it.

The Sheriff’s Office was on campus today searching students for weapons as they entered the school. Despite the lockdown, Advance Baton Rouge officials say their schools are safe.

There’s been concern about schools run by Advance Baton Rouge, especially by the Louisiana Association of Educators. The LAE tells us teachers have complained about a lack of discipline on campuses run by Advance Baton Rouge. Just last week, five Prescott Middle students were arrested in conncetion with a rape that occurred there. Now, at Pointe Coupee Central High School, students were put in lockdown after it was rumored there was a gun on campus.

Although there’s some concern, Joanna Wurtele says Advance Baton Rouge is making positive changes at the school. “When Advance Baton Rouge took over Central High School on July 1st at 12:01 this year to me that marked a new beginning for the children of Pointe Coupee Parish.” Wurtele has been running a foundation dedicated to improving education in Pointe Coupee Parish for 20 years. She’s impressed with what’s going on at Pointe Coupee Central High, “Advance Baton Rouge had a month to put together a new high school with a whole new set of employees and programs and systems. The effort is massive, they have done a remarkable job.”

Wurtele says the threat of a gun on campus is an isolated incident, “Unfortunately guns in schools in not something new in Pointe Coupee Parish. We have had this situation happen before. What’s really remarkable about this situation is that the young adults knew what to do, they knew what adults to go to, they knew what process to follow.” Wurtele says she’ll continue to provide support to Advance Baton Rouge to help make the school better and safer for the students.

Advance Baton Rouge just took over Pointe Coupee Central High this year and an agency spokeswoman says the school has shown significant improvement already.