Livingston Superintendent makes a fast exit, doesn't address elephant in the room
LIVINGSTON- At Thursday's School Board meeting in Livingston Parish, Superintendent Joe Murphy made a fast dash out of the door when the meeting wrapped up before he could be approached to answer questions.
The meeting which began at 7:00 p.m. sharp was the school system's first opportunity to publicly address a mess they've faced over the past two weeks. Instead, it wrapped up 16 minutes later without anyone talking about the disturbing child sex abuse case that has rocked the parish.
Cynthia Perkins resigned from Westside Junior High after she was arrested two weeks ago and charged with 60 counts of child pornography and child rape. Her husband, Dennis Perkins, a deputy with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office was also arrested and charged with the same charges. He was fired after his arrest.
Concerned citizens who attended the meeting like Taryn Creekbaum called the lack of even mentioning the situation appalling.
"I was hoping to get some answers," Creekbaum said. "This whole parish is affected and stunned by what is going on and we all need answers. I thought this would be a good place to get it. Not only did I not get any answers, but no word was spoken about it... none. I find that disappointing and obviously concerning."
Other concerned residents like Muriel Laws said their silence is deafening.
"I was shocked when I came into the parking lot and saw people leaving," Laws said. "I can't be late. But, they said no it's over, and no one addressed the issue. That's impossible because this has been unsettling to parents."
Superintendent Murphy has not done a single on-camera interview or issued any statements condemning the alleged acts of teacher Cynthia Perkins since her arrest. Neither would school board members.
"No comment," they said.
Perhaps none of the board members wanted to talk because of a text message they all received from School Board President Buddy Mincey telling them not to. The group text that went to all members, raises questions about whether other school business is done out of the public light. The WBRZ Investigative Unit obtained the message prior to the meeting.
"Heads Up: Channel 2 is in the parking lot at LPPS and plans to attend our meeting. I would like to remind everyone of the advise (sic) giving to us about public statements concerning recent events.." the text from Mincey said.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit first reported this week that parents began meeting with the Attorney General's Office after they were identified being served contaminated sweets. Sources have confirmed dozens of parents were told their children may have been victims.
This morning, the School System issued the following statement:
"The administration and faculty of Livingston Parish Schools are aware of the community reaction to the Attorney General's investigation of a former teacher in our district. In compliance with the wishes of the Attorney General and to protect the integrity of the investigation and the privacy of our students and their families, LPPS will not comment or discuss details of the matter until such time as the case has reached disposition. Our priority is the welfare of the children of this district and the preservation of a consistent, quality educational process during this stressful time. Thank you for your continued support."
Those at Thursday's meeting wanted to hear from school leaders, but left disappointed with what they called a lack of leadership.