It's always risky to suggest that Cedric Floyd is less of a jerk than alleged; he rarely fails to prove himself worthy of an aspersion.
But when Floyd warned his fellow members of the Jefferson Parish School Board last week that “heads will be cut off” when they meet again next month, reaction was a bit over the top.
Floyd does admittedly have quite a temper and has often crossed swords with board member Mark Morgan. But, in citing the state law against threatening a public official, Morgan was apparently taking Floyd literally.
In fact, the decapitation of members will probably not be on the board's June agenda.
Of course, students who threaten to shoot up their schools don't always mean it either, but they will get disciplined or even arrested regardless, as Morgan pointed out in taking Floyd to task.
But nobody knows for sure if some weird kid is really capable of mass homicide. In these nervous times, it would be foolhardy to take a chance.
Floyd, on the other hand, is well known. Sure, he is a loudmouth and a bully, but there is absolutely no chance that he will show up with an ax. If he did, security would deal with him.
School superintendent Cade Brumley took Morgan's side, averring that “comments like those are not healthy for kids or for the organization.”
Floyd pointed out he merely meant that, while the latest meeting was all sweetness and light, it will be a different story next time, when a motion to censure him is on the agenda. It is absurd that he was even required to explain. Indeed, he does not believe his detractors are as literal-minded as they affect to be. He thinks it is all posturing in preparation for the fall elections.
Far from being “not healthy for kids,” Floyd's remark will assist their study of rhetorical devices. If they can't see a metaphor when it is staring them in the face, they'll be all at sea when it comes to zeugma and hendiadys.
Maybe all hell will break loose at next month's board meeting — no, that doesn't mean Beelzebub could make a personal appearance in Harvey — when a vote will be taken on whether to censure Floyd for costing the taxpayer $60,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Sharon Hunter, who quit her job as a secretary rather than put up with any more of his abuse.
Another former secretary, Amzie Pigott, makes remarkably similar accusations against Floyd in a pending lawsuit filed on her behalf by Hunter's attorney, Michael Delesdernier, who used to be a school board member too.
Floyd is under a court injunction to stay away from Delesdernier, with whom he rowed frequently when they were alleged colleagues. No such court order would have been issued if Floyd had not been deemed to pose a threat of violence, presumably, and there was nothing metaphorical about their executive-session exchanges, which were loud enough to be heard in the corridor outside.
Delesdernier's experience with Floyd is hardly unusual. In fact, if there is a prime candidate for one of those anger management courses, it has to be Floyd. He has been showing for years that a civil difference of opinion is quite beyond him. His debating style is yell, scream and get in your face, and his aggression extends even to his own family. A couple of years ago he smashed the windshield of his wife's car as their son tried to drive away from their home.
Yet Floyd evidently feels secure and suggests it is the other board members who are at risk of defeat at the next election. He says they are deliberately misconstruing what he said because they fear he will work to unseat them.
They, in turn, would love to run him out of town on a rail, so to speak.
Correction: Sunday's column mocked Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier for saying Louisiana adopted majority verdicts in criminal trials 128 years ago. The column noted that majority verdicts were first enshrined in the state constitution in 1898. However, they were approved legislatively in 1880. Never make fun of anyone unless you make absolutely sure they are wrong. My apologies to Mr. DeRosier.
Email James Gill at Gill1407@bellsouth.net.