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Shooting after basketball game draws scrutiny; cheerleaders en route to Orlando finals

At their monthly meeting, Jan. 18, Warren Easton Charter High School’s board of directors discussed a shooting incident and approved funds to support several extra-curricular activities.

In her report on the Jan. 6 shooting, Principal Alexina Medley said two Warren Easton students were injured when a gunman opened fire on a crowd exiting the school after a basketball game with McDonogh 35. One student is back in school and the other is recovering at home from arm surgery.  Medley said the school had taken precautions for the game by having an extra security guard present.

On Jan. 9, the Monday after the incident, Medley, board president David Garland, and teachers met to review the incident with representatives from the Orleans Parish School Board and the New Orleans Police Department.  The group determined there wasn’t much more that could have been done to prevent the shooting.  But in the future, the school will notify NOPD of all games against rival schools, and NOPD will put an additional officer on patrol in the area when the game ends. The school will also contact parents with a general information phone message after an incident, similar to the message sent to faculty and staff last weekend.

In public comment about the incident, Octavia Green Robinson, a member of the Parent Teacher Student Organization, said parents were pleased that Medley had arranged additional security at the game.

In other business, cheerleader co-captains requested $3,000 to fill the gap in their fundraising efforts.  The team has raised $2,000 thus far but needs a total of $5,500  for transportation next month to nationals in Orlando. The board agreed  to advance $3,000.

Mike Greer, the school’s finance officer, presented statements, which were accepted by the  board. Greer said that by next month’s meeting, the finance committee hopes to have completed a policy setting forth procedures for releasing the budget to school system administrators  and media.  The release would also contain dates and times when public comment could be heard.

Garland proposed hiring an additional assistant principal, noting that  one of Easton’s teachers has certification that would qualify him for the position. Such a move entail a title change and pay increase. Discussion revealed differing viewpoints on the proposal and the issue was tabled.

In other business, Garland expressed concern about the possibility of students being locked in the building when doors close at 6 p.m.  Medley assured the board that they have had no problems with the system. The process includes locking all the doors from the outside and then clearing the building room by room, ensuring all gym activity is contained within the gym.

Robert Delle, chair of the curriculum committee, said he was pleased with professional development activities in December. These included developing lessons from Project Learning Tree, an international effort that connects academics to environmental concerns.

The fundraising committee reminded board members to promote two upcoming fundraisers: a golf tournament on March 9 and a dance at Rock ‘n’ Bowl on March 11. Robinson said the PTSO will host a fundraiser during the Endymion parade, which passes the school on the Saturday before Mardi Gras.

The board then went into a closed executive session to discuss student retention. Garland said the session was focused on a student considering whether to transfer to another school. The board had granted the student’s request that the meeting be held in private, as is consistent with La R.S. 42:17.

The executive session began at 7:35 p.m. Medley and Assistant Principal Joseph Gilyot III were excused by the board at 7:47 p.m.  The executive session ended at 7:52 p.m.  No motions resulted from the session.

Projects manager Ken Ducote informed the board that delays in fabricating pieces for the window installation would add another eight to 10 weeks to the project.

In other votes, the board accepted December’s meeting minutes.  The board approved a motion to secure and fix the sound system it purchased and then to donate it to the school. The board also approved a motion to donate $350 to partially cover the cost of awards for the school’s science fair.

Board members present included Garland, Delle, Ronald McDonald, David Napoleon, David Benelli, Jeff Zapata, Brenda Christiansen, and ex-officio member Sal Genovese.

Medley, Gilyot, Greer, Fund Development Coordinator Janet Gaudet, Steve Costa, Ken Ducote, two members of the public and a Lens reporter were also present.

The meeting began at 6:08 p.m. and ended at 7:54 p.m.

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