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Franklin Parish band parents confront school board

Posted: Updated: Nov 5, 2012 11:47 PM

FRANKLIN PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Franklin Parish band parents confronted the school board Monday night over a controversial hire. But they didn't make much progress.

The newly hired band director at Franklin Parish High School is stirring up controversy. "They shouldn't let a person like this be in the school system" said Connie Oliver, who has grand kids attending the school.

"Why would you want to jeopardize anyone's children and their well being, by hiring someone who is under investigation?" said Franklin Parish High parent Daphne Marsh-Moran.

After several failed attempts to get answers from school leaders, about why a band director was hired in the midst of allegations that he had sex with a student while employed at Caldwell Parish High School, Daphne Marsh-Moran put the item on the school board's agenda ... hoping to finally have her concerns heard.

And on Monday night, Marsh-Moran took a deep breath before saying this to the board: "I have been asked to come here tonight on behalf of several of the other band parents." Marsh-Moran said. "I have personally pulled my child from the band program due to the new band director that was hired..." she added, but mid-sentence, the sound of a gavel pounding filled the room. School Board President Eddie Bryan was silencing the band mom.

Waving his hands in the air Bryan said, "We are not going to discuss personnel at all, period" he said while pointing his finger.

"I got up there, didn't even get to finish my sentence, before he cut me off" Marsh-Moran told KNOE 8 News.

Bryan defended his decision, saying Marsh-Moran wasn't specific enough with her agenda request. "If she wants to address an individual or individual position and there is a procedure to do that".

Because the board wouldn't address concerns of parents, KNOE 8 News began asking questions too. We asked Bryan if there are any policies to keep the parish from hiring someone under investigation for a school related crime. Bryan refused to answer our question, instead saying personnel matters would not be discussed. We clarified to the Bryan we were asking about policy not personnel. "Yes ma'am you're fishing and I'm not going to bite your hook", was Bryan's answer.

Superintendent Lanny Johnson, in charge of hiring and firing, refused to speak to us on camera.

Charges are still pending in Caldwell parish against the band director.  Since the band director has not been charged with a crime -- we've chosen not to release his name.

It is a misdemeanor in Louisiana for a teacher to have a sexual relationship with a student over the age of 17.

 

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