MINUTES

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

337 Napoleon Street

New Roads, LA 70760

 

SPECIAL MEETING

MONDAY, MAY 16, 2011

5:30 p.m.

 

 

The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board met in a special session on Monday, May 16, 2011, at 337 Napoleon Street, New Roads, LA.  President Chad Aguillard called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m.

 

Board members present at the time that the roll was called: Chad Aguillard, Frank R. Aguillard, Jr., Brandon Bergeron, Kevin Hotard, Leslie Ann Grezaffi, and Anita LeJeune.

 

Board member Thomas Nelson was absent.

 

President Aguillard requested that Mr. Brandon Bergeron lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

 

President Aguillard requested that Mrs. Anita LeJeune offer the invocation.

 

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Tenure Hearing for Bus Driver.  President Aguillard stated that the purpose of this special School Board meeting is to conduct a hearing in accordance with La. R.S. 17:493 for Ms. Virginia LeJeune.  Mr. Aguillard requested that Ms. LeJuene advise the Board as to whether she wished to have a public or private hearing.  Ms. LeJeune's attorney, Mr. Yigal Bander, and his assistant, Ms. Ashley Boulange, were in attendance and requested to have the hearing in a private session.  It was announced that the witnesses would have to wait outside the Board meeting room until it is their time to testify; potential witnesses were reminded that they would be testifying under oath and that they are subject to prosecution for perjury if they do not tell the truth. 

 

President Aguillard entertained a motion for the Board to convene in an executive session to conduct the hearing pursuant to the authority of L.R.S. 42:6.1(A)(1) and (8) and L.R.S. 17:493.

 

Executive Session.  Mr. Chad Aguillard made a motion to enter into executive session at 5:36 p.m.  Mr. Frank Aguillard seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

 

Board member James Cline arrived at 6:00 p.m.        

 

After deliberations, Mr. Chad Aguillard stated that the Board must return to an open session to vote on the charges against Mrs. LeJeune and entertained a motion to do so.

 

Open Session.  On a motion by Mr. Brandon Bergeron, seconded by Mr. Frank Aguillard, the Board reconvened at 10:45 p.m. in an open session.  Motion carried.

 

President Aguillard stated that the Board must vote on each of the questions which were outlined at the outset of the hearing.  The roll call votes of the School Board on each question of fact and law are reflected below:

 

(1)        Do you find that the Superintendent has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the employee is guilty of the facts stated in Charge No. I, which is found in Superintendent Exhibit 1-B?  A roll call vote resulted in the following:

 

YEAS:              Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, and Anita LeJeune

 

NAYS:              None

 

ABSENT:          Thomas Nelson

 

The motion passed by a 7-0 vote.

 

(2)        Do you find that such facts, as proven, constitute willful neglect of duty on the part of Ms. LeJeune?  Before voting on this question, President Aguillard provided a definition of "willful neglect of duty" taken from the case law.  The term "willful neglect of duty" has been defined in the jurisprudence as "a specific action or failure to act in contravention of a direct order or identifiable school policy." Howard v. West Baton Rouge Parish School Board, 793 So.2d 153 (La.6/29/01).  In other words, a teacher may be found by a school board to be guilty of willful neglect of duty if he/she has been intentionally insubordinate or has violated a policy of the board.  A teacher may also be found guilty of willful neglect of duty if he/she did not conduct himself/herself "according to dictates of professionalism and common sense, even in the absence of a policy prohibiting certain conduct"  Spurlock v. East Feliciana Parish School Board, 885 So.2d 1225 (La. App.1 Circ. 6/25/04), writ denied, 885 So.2d 591 (La. 10/29/04).  A roll call vote resulted in the following:

 

YEAS:              Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, and Anita LeJeune

 

NAYS:              None

 

ABSENT:          Thomas Nelson

 

The motion passed by a 7-0 vote.

 

(3)        On the basis of the findings of fact and conclusions of law made above, do you feel that disciplinary action should be taken against Ms. LeJeune?

 

YEAS:              Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, Kevin Hotard, and Anita LeJeune

 

NAYS:              None

 

ABSENT:          Thomas Nelson

 

The motion passed by a 7-0 vote.

 

President Aguillard announced that the Board was now at the point in the proceedings where they would have to determine what disciplinary action would be considered appropriate for Ms. LeJeune.  The Board will need to make that determination by motion made, seconded, and approved by majority vote of the Board.  Before voting on that disciplinary action, he stated that the court decisions in Louisiana have concluded that School Board members should be advised that termination is not the only disciplinary action which can be taken against an employee.  Other types of disciplinary action that can be taken against an employee include letters of reprimand, placing an employee on probation, stripping an employee of tenure, suspending an employee with or without pay, and/or other types of disciplinary action short of termination.  It was further stated that of course, termination is also an option available to the Board.

 

(4)        Mr. Aguillard asked if there was a motion to what disciplinary action should be taken against Ms. LeJuene in this case?

 

Mr. Brandon Bergeron moved to accept the Superintendent's recommendation to terminate Ms. Virginia LeJeune.  The motion was seconded by Mr. James Cline.  A roll call vote resulted in the following:

 

YEAS:              Chad Aguillard, Frank Aguillard, Brandon Bergeron, James Cline, Leslie Grezaffi, and Kevin Hotard.

 

NAYS:              Anita LeJeune

 

ABSENT:          Thomas Nelson

 

The motion passed by a 6-1 vote, and Ms. LeJeune is terminated effective May 16, 2011.  Superintendent D'Amico is to notify Ms. LeJuene in writing of this decision by the Board.

 

President Aguillard entertained a motion to adjourn.

 

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Adjournment.  On a motion by Mr. Frank Aguillard, seconded by Mr. James Cline, the meeting adjourned at 10:53 p.m.

 

POINTE COUPEE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

                                                                                                                                                           

__________________________________

Chad A. Aguillard, President

 

__________________________________

Linda D. D'Amico, Superintendent

Secretary-Treasurer