BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – East Baton Rouge parents had until 2:00 pm Wednesday to weigh in on four new calendar options for the upcoming school year. All options push the start of the school year back to August. Teacher training would start Aug. 2 the school year would end no later than May 20.
These new options came about after EBR schools superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse is facing serious backlash for his ‘Smart Start’ plan. Narcisse wanted kids and teachers to be back in classrooms by July, hoping to make up for lost time due to COVID-19. That plan didn’t go over well with teachers. Last week, hundreds of teachers, including Valencia Johnson, called out sick from work in protest. Johnson says she appreciates the new options.
“It’s good that the superintendent and the board are now listening to the stakeholders,” Johnson said. “[The school board] is allowing teachers to do what they do best and educators to do what they do best.”
Students also pushed back on the original idea. Michael Juneau is in 7th grade. He created a petition that’s already racked up more than 2,000 signatures in hopes of school not starting early.
“They just keep adding and adding to our pressure when we already have dealt with a very stressful school system,” Michael Juneau said. “You have stressful students, and you’re repeatedly putting more pressure on them to the point where students are just having mental breakdowns because they can’t handle it, it’s too much.”
A survey was sent out to parents asking them when they would like school to start. The school board is expected to make a final decision Thursday. Board member Dadrius Lanus says he appreciates the feedback and he hopes to move forward.
“We should have done better, and we are going to do better,” Lanus said.
The school board meeting starts at 5 pm.