(John Guidroz / American Press)
Stephen Mesuch, a 11-year-old fifth-grade student at T.S. Cooley Elementary. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Friday, April 06, 2012 7:07 PM
BATON ROUGE — While about 1,200 people stood outside the Capitol building Wednesday to oppose the state’s public education reform efforts, a group of Calcasieu Parish teachers sought signatures for a petition to recall Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Brenda Romero, a teacher at Barbe High School, said there were two tables set up — one where people could sign a petition, and another where people could take a petition home to gather additional signatures. She said the response was positive.
“When we got here, people were waiting on us,” Romero said. “They’ve been thanking us.”
Andrea McFarlin, an AP English teacher at Barbe, said teachers, students and parents stood in line to sign the petition. She said she is confident they can collect the 940,000-plus signatures required for a recall — one-third of the 2.86 million registered voters in Louisiana.
“I don’t think we thought it would ever happen, but we’re amazed with the response we’ve gotten,” McFarlin said. “It’s giving us a voice.”
Holly Peterson, a ninth-grade English teacher at Barbe, said she has received calls and emails from people wanting petitions for their areas.
“There’s been a wide need and desire to be a part of it,” she said.
Lucie Mesuch, a math teacher at W.W. Lewis Middle School in Sulphur, signed the petition to recall Jindal, saying he is “using teachers as political pawns.”
Courtney George, a student at Louisiana State University, also signed the petition. A graduate of Baton Rouge High School, she said she opposes the reform plan.
A similar effort to recall House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, is “not going to be as difficult as people think it is,” Peterson said. A recall would require signatures from one-third of the voters in his district.
“I think a lot of people are charged up, not just teachers,” she said. “I think he should be worried. I feel that we’re holding him accountable to his job.”
Romero said they have received 12 petitions with about 500 signatures altogether. She said there are several petitions that have yet to be returned. Recall supporters have until Sept. 22 to collect and submit signatures.
Peterson said her biggest problem with the reform effort is putting private funds toward private or parochial schools. She said the legislation does nothing but “vilify educators.”
“Our government has chosen to point the finger at public educators as being the problem,” she said. “And there’s lots that contribute to that problem.”
Mesuch said she initially supported Jindal, but she changed her opinion after educators were not given a chance to voice their opinion on the reform before it was filed.
Mesuch’s son, Stephen, accompanied her to the rally. A 11-year-old fifth-grade student at T.S. Cooley Elementary, Stephen said it is “unfair how teachers are held responsible if students do their homework.”
Posted By: Mike On: 4/20/2012
I've signed it. It is obvious to me why he is choosing to do this in his second term. If he'd done this in the first, there would not have been a second. He is now trying to shore up a national bid for election. Please sign the petition.
Posted By: Mel Humphrey On: 4/20/2012
Title: Recall Petition
I stood face to face with the Governor and he promised to hold parents accountable and back our schools! He was talking directly to me. I guess he forgot! He did not respond to an email I snt asking him to talk directly to the educators of our state. I firmly believe the vote is about money. We do need reforms, but not at the expense of the children. I cannot access the petition, but if I get a chance I will sign it. Mel
Posted By: Courtney On: 4/7/2012
Title: Official Recall Petition for Jindal
Please visit www.recallbobbyjindal.com and email firstname.lastname@example.org for the official recall petition for Jindal. There are specific instructions and only one official petition that must be followed in order to do this correctly. Please visit this site if your interested!
Posted By: Mercedes Schneider On: 4/7/2012
Anyone wishing to print and circulate the Jindal recall petition, please email email@example.com for a file copy and complete directions. Please write "recall petition" in the subject line.