Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre and Lafourche Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Jo Ann Matthews announced officials from both public agencies met on Tuesday, February 27 to continue discussions in the interest of enhancing safety and awareness at Lafourche Parish schools.
While the Lafourche Parish School District and the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office have always worked together on these issues, officials say the partnership has never been more critical.
We have an outstanding relationship with the sheriff’s office, and we have many successful joint ventures,” said Dr. Matthews. “That partnership is critical to ensure the continued safety of our students. At the administrative level, now is a great time to review all of the physical safety measures at every school and see how we can improve. We will also work together with LPSO to better educate everyone about school policies and laws and the consequences of violating either.”
Officials say they will initially focus on improvements in policy and practices at schools which will come at little to no cost before looking at measures which would require funding. Officials will also look to improve the methods and speed at which parents are informed about incidents.
Sheriff Craig Webre said his office will cooperate closely in these efforts, but he also pointed out that these efforts are improvements, not repairs, to the existing system.
“While many parents are on edge, and understandably so, it should be noted that no shots were fired, and no firearms were brought to school this past week,” said Sheriff Webre. “In each incident, it was words and/or gestures that resulted in enforcement action, and in all cases, other students came forward with information. I believe this past week’s events have shown that the system is working. Students are reporting this behavior, perhaps now more than ever before. The schools are taking the threats seriously, and we as law enforcement officers are following through with investigations.”
In addition to addressing safety, officials say they will continue to look at the root causes of these incidents, including bullying and mental health.
“Both the sheriff’s office and the school district will continue to evaluate our responses to bullying and mental health needs,” said Sheriff Webre. “There are many conversations occurring at the national level, and we are closely following those discussions to see how it might impact us here in Lafourche Parish.”