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Principal with history of complaints up for promotion in Livingston Parish

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LIVINGSTON - The Livingston Parish School Board is scheduled to approve a promotion for Walker Elementary Principal Bonnie Cox Thursday. The promotion will bring her to the Central Office as the Supervisor of Instruction from July 13, 2020 until June 30, 2021.

Sources familiar with how the process works say it's just a formality, because the decision has already been made that she got the job.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit has been flooded with complaints about Bonnie Cox since we first began reporting issues at Walker Elementary about two years ago. Parents and others say nothing is typically done, possibly because her husband sits on the school board.

In 2018, we interviewed Morgan Wesley, a parent who said her child ingested a pill on a school bus. At that time, Wesley told WBRZ, Cox tried to ban her from the school after she complained about the situation and the way it was handled.

"We made a lot of mistakes on this," Stephen Parrill told WBRZ two years ago. "We should have brought him to the office immediately."

Fast forward to 2020, Jessica Michel said her run-in with Cox left two boys that she took in unable to attend school. Michel said she tried to get them into Walker Elementary, but Nathan and Jaiden Anderson were kicked out over questions about where they lived. At the time, their school bus driver told WBRZ she had been picking the boys up for the past two years and they lived in the district. Less than 24 hours after WBRZ's story on the boys aired, they were back in school.

Michel said despite them being kicked out, both passed the school year.

"I was sitting with them in the evenings at least three hours, doing homework and trying to get them to learn their numbers, ABC's and helping them learn how to read," Michel said. "Thank God my efforts paid off because they did pass."

Despite the issues that Michel said she's encountered, she's happy that the boys she took in are doing great and parents won't have to deal with Cox any longer.

"A big relief... A really big relief," Michel said. "This is not the only confrontation that I've had to deal with her, and I know many other parents who have had issues with her."

It's unclear who might take Cox's place at Walker Elementary. A spokesperson for Livingston Parish Schools said the board will consider contracts for five different positions in the district.

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