American Press

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,

Barbe Elementary assistant principal accused of using racial slur

Last Modified: Tuesday, May 02, 2017 8:09 AM

By Lisa Addison / American Press

The Calcasieu Parish School Board and the principal of Barbe Elementary School are investigating an incident that occurred last week in which the assistant principal allegedly called a group of students a racial slur.

Gayla Prather, the student’s mother, alleged in an April 26 post on her Facebook page that Assistant Principal Laura Nelson called her son and two other students a racial slur. She said her son, who has ADHD, ran out of his medicine and couldn’t get a refill for three days.

“By the (second) day of course without his medicine he’s misbehaving,” the post reads. “But (Nelson) decided to tell my son that if he doesn’t shove a pill down his throat every morning, she doesn’t want to see him at school!”

Prather later told the American Press she won’t remain quiet about the allegation.

“Being that (Nelson) works around kids, she needs to be more sensitive,” she said. “What happened to my son is just plain wrong.”

Barbe Elementary Principal Sharon Ruffin-Hardy said the alleged incident “is being looked into.”

“But these things take time, and I can tell you that the investigation will not be based on a Facebook post that has been sensationalized,” she said. “Nothing has been proven. But I do believe that, if (Nelson) said the (racial slur), that it was definitely taken out of context.”

Ruffin-Hardy also spoke of Nelson’s background.

“Mrs. Nelson is almost 70 years old and comes from segregation,” she said. “I come from integration, and the students at our school are growing up in yet another era.”

“I think it would be wonderful if (racial slurs were) never used again, but we all know that’s not realistic. Mrs. Nelson herself was hurt by (racial slurs) all her life, so I don’t believe she wants another person to hurt in that same way.”

Prather said she visited the school and School Board to complain about the incident but doesn’t feel the issues have been taken seriously.

“I feel like all they really did was make a note on a piece of paper and put it away,” Prather said. “The principal did tell me, ‘All people make mistakes,’ but I don’t feel that this was a mistake. I want something done about this.”

Calcasieu Parish School Board Spokesperson Holly Holland said officials “are aware of the alleged incident and are investigating the matter.”

Ruffin-Hardy said while she and Prather have discussed the alleged incident, Prather declined an opportunity to meet with Nelson.

“Our school is a low socioeconomic school, so we do have those issues,” she said. “But my door is always open to parents, and I’m always willing to listen and to help in every way that I possibly can. Our main concern at Barbe Elementary is the success of all of our students.”

Ruffin-Hardy said Nelson “is upset because (Prather’s) post has slandered her name and there’s nothing that she can do about it.”

“She’s a mother and a grandmother and has many years of experience as an educator,” she said.

Posted By: Charlie On: 5/17/2017

Title: Charlie

Hang in there.

Posted By: La Chaunte August On: 5/5/2017

Title: Hmm...

Why is this deja Vu? I'm praying my child does not fail this year because of the same thing, same person.

Posted By: Audrey On: 5/2/2017

Title: Outraged

To think we are supposed to trust these people with our children. If I reprimand my child in public they scream child abuse. What do you think this is? If one child speaks this way to another child they would be sent home so why wasn't she sent home without pay?

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