Broken air conditioners, molded ceiling tiles, overcrowded rooms, failed equipment; these are just a few of the issues facing Lafayette Parish School System’s aging facilities, most of which are more than 40 years old. In an effort to raise awareness of the problems, the Lafayette League of Women Voters has produced a short documentary video on the deteriorating conditions of parish schools. The video, titled “Everybody’s Schools” gives a look inside several classrooms and also contains some revealing interviews with local teachers and city officials. The League has posted the 10-minute video on YouTube, and is also sending out DVDs to local school and other government officials.
League spokesperson Layne St. Julien says the video grew out of a report that the League completed late last year on school conditions. The League has also been involved with a community coalition that the school board has put together to study the issue. That group expects to release its findings and recommendations in June. As the League completed its study, St. Julien says they came across several photo slides, taken by the late school board member David Thibodaux, that showed how bad some school buildings had become. Those photos inspired the League to make their own video of conditions, which then evolved into the documentary. St. Julien says the video has been an eye-opener for many in the community. “Mostly, people are aghast,” she says. “They find it hard to believe. We’re hoping that shock can be turned into the next step which is what are we going to do and how are we going to do it.”