A Tallulah Elementary School teacher was dismissed after she was in the classroom while two third-graders were reportedly having oral sex under a table. A Madison Parish High School teacher is under investigation for reported substance abuse on the job.
Both disciplinary actions are part of Superintendent Lisa Wilmore’s effort to “change the culture” of the district which has a history of academic struggles.
Wilmore wants to put more emphasis on classroom management and effective use of instructional time to improve student achievement.
Wilmore, the former principal of Berg Jones Elementary in Monroe, was chosen as the district’s superintendent at the beginning of the school year. Former Superintendent Sam Dixon was fired by the board after board members said they were unable to work with him.
Donald Frazier, a retired administrator from East Carroll Parish, served as interim while the board interviewed candidates for the position.
The incident at Tallulah Elementary was investigated by the school’s principal.
“These kids were allegedly having oral sex under a table,” Wilmore said. “They were third-graders.”
Wilmore concurred with the principal’s recommendation that the third-grade teacher be dismissed and the children counseled after a sexual incident reportedly occurred in class last week.
“The principal felt that she was not monitoring the classroom adequately,” Wilmore said. “The principal made a decision, and I supported the principal. We have to make sure we have people in these classrooms who are monitoring our students.”
Wilmore also confirmed that a Madison Parish High School teacher has been placed on leave with pay this week pending the results of an investigation into possible substance abuse by the teacher while on the job.
Wilmore cited privacy issues while refraining from comment on the specifics of the incident.
“We will handle this in the manner that district policy allows us to handle this,” she said. “I expect the investigation will be concluded quickly.”
Wilmore said she is working closely with the district’s School Board to tackle issues that relate to staff conduct and student success in all schools.
When it comes to student safety and security, Wilmore says she’s unwilling to compromise.
“We are working on creating a culture where children can feel safe, loved and protected, and that’s quite a challenge,” she said.
The district is ranked 59 out of 62 districts in Louisiana for its district performance score, which is based on student achievement, drop outs and attendance data.
“We have some really great faculty and really great parents,” Wilmore said. “We are doing the best we can to work to create an environment where children can excel.”
Board President Jann Williams-Buchannan said Wilmore has been clear with her intentions.
“She’s getting 100 percent cooperation from the board,” she said.