School district: BR business used racial slurs at students during trip
ST. HELENA – The St. Helena Parish School District has accused staff at a Baton Rouge recreation center of using racial slurs to describe students during a field trip.
According to the complaint letter, the school district says the incident happened Wednesday at the Area 51 Extreme Air Sports facility in Baton Rouge. The letter says “one or more” staff members used racial slurs to describe students from the St. Helena Arts & Technology Academy during the visit.
“We are very disappointed in the behavior of your staff,” Superintendent Kelli Joseph and School Board President Linda Chaney wrote. “Nothing can justify their disgusting, degrading remarks and our students didn’t deserve to experience such hate.”
Officials say the school district is expecting a public apology from Area 51 to the students and parents. The school board is also requesting a written apology that explains the business’s stance against racism, actions taken against employees and remedies to solve the matter.
“You cannot erase the awful experience our students and teacher endured,” Joseph said. “They will have to live with this for the rest of their lives.”
Area 51 Extreme Air Sports is located on The Grove Boulevard off Mall of Louisiana Boulevard. The facility offers several activities including trampoline jumps, obstacle courses, foam pits and dodge ball.
In a statement released to WBRZ, Area 51 said that an employee has been placed on unpaid administrative leave while the company investigates the incident. The company says they are communicating with school administrators and Superintendent Joseph to determine facts and appropriate action.
"We take reported instances of discrimination in our park extremely seriously," Area 51 says. "Any suspected instance of discriminatory action, including the use of discriminatory language, is immediately investigated and appropriate action is taken—including but not limited to: supplemental employee training, unpaid suspension, and/or termination."