Folks in the East Feliciana town of Slaughter have formed a board to apply for a new charter school. Emily Turner is tracking the story. She spoke with several concerned parents. The town does have an elementary school, but parents believe that once their children pass the sixth grade they shouldn’t have to travel to neighboring cities in order to receive an education.
Slaughter, Louisiana is a rural town with a population of about 1,000 people. Nevertheless, its residents say its peaceful, tight-knit, and the perfect place to raise a family. But there is one thing they believe is missing from their otherwise perfect community. Cindy Hall, a parent, explains, “For our kids to be able to go to school in their community they’ve grown up in all their lives.”
School officials say the town’s public elementary school boasts the highest academic scores in the parish, but once their students pass the sixth grade there isn’t a middle or high school within miles of Slaughter. Slaughter Chief of Police Walter Smith says, “A lot of the children that leave here are going elsewhere, private schools and as far as Mississippi and we need to get a school here so we can continue that academic excellence on through the twelfth grade.”
In East Feliciana Parish there are two public middle and high schools, all located in Jackson and Clinton. Parent Annette Jackson says, “This is something we feel the communities already have and something that we desire to have.” For some, a nearly hour long round trip to and from school is too much. Amanda Gunter says, “I home school my five children and I just think it would be great for them to go to school with friends.”
Joe Gunter, President of the Slaughter Community Charter School Board, doesn’t want to see families leave Slaughter just because their kids have nowhere to go. “We’ve been seeing our neighbors and kids move out of the community for years. We’d like to welcome them back and to join the system so we can have a more together community with the entire parish.”
Proponents of the Slaughter community charter school have scheduled a meeting Tuesday evening at 7 pm in town hall. If Slaughter is granted its charter school, community members say they are ready to help build it.