Lafayette Schools Supt. Pat Cooper Responds To Criticisms In Newspaper Guest Column
Lafayette Parish School System Supt. Dr. Pat Cooper responded to accusations Tuesday that his use of the PACE system Thursday night was an attempt to "antagonize" members of the Lafayette Parish School Board.
In a guest column in Tuesday's Daily Advertiser, former city council member and former educator Nancy Mounce said "using the call system to accuse the board of 'turmoil' and 'dysfunction' with 'a lack of professionalism' while saying he understood the frustration of parents shows no indication of a willingness to work with the board rather that against them."
On "Nathan & Bernie in the Morning," Cooper said there was no ulterior motive for his automated phone call to parents, and he said there are some members of the community who "don't seem to want the district to succeed."
Mounce cited in her column one citizen who questioned whether "it was appropriate for the superintendent to use a public resource, the automated call system, 'as a propaganda tool against his employer.'"
"It's kind of hypocritical to me for Nancy to be even saying anything about that," Cooper said. "She has free reign to the Advertiser. I mean, she's like the queen of the guest column. She gets to use it every single time she wants it. So for me to able to use the PACE system to reassure parents seems a little bit--it's like Star Wars to me. I don't know what the reasoning comes from."
Cooper said he received three objections to his automated phone message to parents, but "on the other hand, I've had...dozens and dozens and dozens of calls of people saying we really appreciate you doing it."
Tensions between Cooper and certain members of the school board escalated to a new high at the board's last regular meeting. Police had to be called to the board room after board member Tehmi Chassion accused Cooper of yelling at him during an executive session, grabbing him by the arm, and turning him around in his chair.
Cooper denied the allegations, and a preliminary police report stated, "During the course of a verbal altercation the suspect placed his hand on the victim. No arrest was made."
To listen to the full interview with Cooper, click on the 'Play' button below.