I remember as a kid getting so frustrated with my Mom when she would tell me to do something and I would ask "why" and she would say "because". I would imagine there are a lot of people in Vermilion Parish who are sharing similar feelings in regards to the ongoing debacle that is the Vermilion Parish School Board.

In my opinion, the one thing that is missing from the whole Jerome Puyau issue is "the why". I won't debate the fact that any school board has the right to dismiss a superintendent if they feel it is in the best interest of the educational experience for their parish.

However, that dismissal, suspension, put on leave with pay, should come with an explanation for the constituency that board was elected to represent. In this case, there really haven't been any reasons publicly stated. There have also been a lot of "faux pas" made by the board in this matter.

Those failures in following policy and procedure were pointed out in a recent report from Lafayette attorney Ed Abell. Abell has released his findings after he was tasked with reviewing the suspension of Puyau. In that report, Mr. Abell found,

It is obvious, in reviewing these materials, that there is animosity against the Superintendent from some of the Board Members, and some of the individuals who submitted statements.  Perhaps, had the Board and other complainants come to the hearing on September 7 and expressed their concerns under oath, there would be more to consider.  They did not.


And, as previously noted, virtually none of the members of the public, or the employees of the Board,  followed the appropriate grievance procedure so that their problems could have been addressed at the appropriate administrative level, and perhaps, resolved.  Instead, application of the Board Policies eliminated most of the complaints from consideration because they did NOT follow the policies.

Those comments and Mr. Abell's entire report can be found in a story penned by reporter Lanie Lee Cook who reports for KATC TV 3. Based on his findings Mr. Abell has concluded that Jerome Puyau should "be immediately restored to his office" as Superintendent of Vermilion Parish Schools.

If I might paraphrase, it sounds as if certain members of the board don't care for Mr. Puyau. However, they aren't willing to go on record with any official grievances, complaints, or concerns about Mr. Puyau and his job performance.

The VPSB has hired special counsel to look into allegations and complaints against Mr. Puyau, so some of the "why" may be forthcoming for the public record. In the meantime, the actions and blatant disregard for policy and procedure have most likely left the school board in a rather precarious situation regarding litigation in the future.




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