The Lafayette Parish School System is investigating after an Ossun Elementary educator used a racial slur in a public Facebook post.
The comment, made under a post promoting a back-to-school giveaway on Cameron Street Saturday evening, used a racial slur in tandem with disparaging statements about visiting the area after dark. The comment was made in the ‘Whatz Goin On in Acadiana’ Facebook group and was removed but later re-shared as a screenshot by a page administrator who challenged the language.
The poster, Julie Colley, is listed as an in-school suspension facilitator and tutor on the support staff team at Ossun, according to the school’s website. Per screenshots of the exchange, Colley previously listed herself as working for the elementary school on her personal Facebook page but removed the affiliation after Saturday’s post.
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Parents and community members swiftly responded to the online post with outrage, concern, disgust and calls for Colley to be fired.
Attempts to reach Colley were unsuccessful. LPSS spokesperson Allison Dickerson said the school district is investigating.
“LPSS is aware of this situation and is conducting a thorough investigation into the matter," she said. "Because this is a personnel issue, no further information will be shared.”
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Ossun Elementary, 400 Rue Scholastique, had 529 students in the 2018-2019 school year, per data from the Louisiana Department of Education. The student population was 64% students of color with 45% identifying as African American.
Marja Broussard, vice president for the Louisiana NAACP’s District D, called for Colley’s removal from her position in a statement and further pushed Superintendent Irma Trosclair and LPSS to implement mandatory racial and cultural diversity training for employees, as well as press for greater diversity in staffing and leadership roles.
“We will not tolerate this bigotry that continues to traumatize our youth and further the narrative that our Black children are second-class citizens,” she said. “We are calling on Superintendent Trosclair to immediately remove Ms. Colley from any ability to further traumatize students, especially Black and Brown, Indigenous, and immigrants or from any ability to continue to teach this mentality to innocent students trusted in her care.”