BAKER — City Councilman Pete Heine on Tuesday criticized Baker school officials for not attending the Youth Violence Prevention Summit held after the April 11 shooting in which three teens were killed and another injured.
“I was disappointed that not one of the School Board members was at the meeting,” Heine said.
The summit, organized by Maria Shantell Williams, was held April 11 in response to a March 28 shooting at the Baker Civic Club that claimed the lives of Marcell Franklin, 15; Kendal Dorsey, 15; and Diontrey Claiborne, 18.
Javaughn Simmons, 19, also was wounded but survived.
Baker police booked accused shooter Nakeydran L. Williams, 16, on three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and one count of illegal use of a weapon.
Williams told the council that Baker School District Superintendent Ulysses Joseph told her he would inform the principals of Baker schools about the event, but she never heard from any school officials.
Williams visited schools in Baker to promote the event, but none of the eight teenagers who chose to participate in the panel discussion were from Baker.
Neither Joseph nor Baker School Board members attended the summit, Heine said.
“I don’t know what we need to do to stir people up,” Williams told the City Council. “If (the shooting) doesn’t wake them up, then I don’t know what will.”
During the summit, parents, community leaders and students gathered at the club to discuss ways to prevent future violence.
East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson told the City Council she didn’t attend the summit because she questioned whether its organizers were serious about developing a strategic plan to stop teenage violence.
“We have to practice what we preach. I am sick of our children dying, and I’m sick of them standing in front of me with orange uniforms on, being led off to jail,” she said.
Williams announced another summit will be held at 7 p.m. May 9 at the Baker Civic Center.
In other business, the council voted unanimously for a resolution opposing the proposed Brooklawn Landfill, which would be off Brooklawn Drive near La. 61.
The Department of Environmental Quality granted a permit to Louisiana Land Acquisitions for the landfill on April 4.
East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilman Trae Welch has expressed opposition to the proposed landfill and urged the Metro Council to pursue legal action if necessary to stop the permit.
Even though the proposed landfill would not be located in the city, it would affect Baker. The disproportionate number of landfills in the northern part of the parish lowers property values in the city, Heine said.
The permit was denied twice and approved the third time.
“What happened between the denial and approval?” Heine asked.
Editor’s note: This story and headline were modified Wednesday, April 23, to note that it was Pete Heine, not Maria Shantell Williams, who criticized Baker school officials for not attending the forum. The Advocate regrets error, which was made in the editing process.