Jeff School Board member casts decisive vote to have board pay his legal fees _lowres

Michael Delesdernier

Jefferson Parish School Board member Michael Delesdernier has succeeded in securing a court order preventing board member Cedric Floyd from coming within 3 feet of him.

Judge Nancy Miller, of 24th Judicial District Court, on Monday granted Delesdernier a preliminary injunction barring Floyd from approaching him.

The injunction stems from a closed-door meeting held by the School Board on July 2, during which Delesdernier claims Floyd intimidated and harassed him and made him fear for his safety.

During a daylong hearing on the matter earlier this month, school officials and board members said Floyd had become agitated during that meeting as he argued against turning Woodmere Elementary School over to a charter school company.

During Floyd’s comments, which one official referred to as a “tirade,” Delesdernier told him that he should be more respectful when talking to school district staff, several witnesses said.

Floyd then leaped from his seat, rushed toward Delesdernier and began yelling at him while pointing a finger toward his face, according to the witnesses.

Delesdernier argued in his court filings and testimony that Floyd was trying to blind him.

Delesdernier also accused Floyd of intentionally bumping his seat after the meeting.

Floyd gave a different version of the events during the hearing, saying that he was making a presentation to the board and that Delesdernier had been standing behind his chair yelling and interrupting him.

Floyd said he did not mean to get in Delesdernier’s face, but that was where he ended up when he stood up from his seat. He also denied intentionally bumping Delesdernier’s seat.

Floyd has been barred from approaching Delesdernier since July 22, when Delesdernier filed his request for an injunction and the court approved a temporary restraining order. However, several School Board members said that at a meeting after the restraining order was issued, Floyd deliberately sat next to Delesdernier and asked him “what he was going to do about it.”

In filings prior to Miller’s ruling, Delesdernier’s attorneys argued the incident showed that he needed a court order to keep Floyd away.

Floyd’s attorneys, by contrast, argued that Floyd never threatened or touched Delesdernier and that Delesdernier did not demonstrate that the incidents he alleged occurred were part of any pattern of activity, suggesting there was never an actual threat of harm.

Delesdernier and Floyd have been bitter foes over the past four years, and each has taken flak for their combative and aggressive style.

Floyd has typically been on the opposite side from Delesdernier on issues facing the school system. Delesdernier was elected as part of a business-backed slate of candidates in 2010.

Those members, who have a slim majority on the nine-member board, have been more supportive of policies proposed by Superintendent James Meza than the other members of the board.

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.