CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish School Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said Wednesday he gave orders last week to school principals to make sure that adults escort elementary students to and from health clinics located on campuses.
Parents have raised concerns about the public being allowed to visit the Slaughter Elementary clinic while classes are being held, citing concerns about student safety.
Lewis told board members, parents and representatives of the clinics at a committee meeting that he sent out a group text message to principals after parents raised their concerns at a Sept. 4 board meeting and followed the text with explicit instructions.
He said he expects the order to be carried out and asked parents to let him know if it is not.
At the same time, people concerned about school safety and the clinics should put personal agendas aside and concentrate on what is best for the district’s students, Lewis said, adding that the clinics are vital to keeping students healthy and in class.
He said he wants principals to find parent volunteers to assist in supervising children sent to the clinics, but he said he wants the volunteer program to include background checks.
The clinics are operated by RKM Primary Care, a federally qualified health provider in Clinton. Chief Executive Officer Ginger Hunt said federal regulations require the clinics to treat students, parents, grandparents, siblings and the community at large.
Hunt spent more than a half-hour detailing services that the clinics offer on campuses.
She also said a flier circulating in Slaughter claiming that the clinic treats sex offenders is totally false.
“We do not serve sex offenders. A sex offender cannot come within 1,000 feet of a school and may not come on campus,” she said.
Hunt proposed surveillance cameras be installed to monitor students’ movements across the campus, with viewing screens located in the clinic and school office.
“You’re not just serving the community in Slaughter; if I lived in Wilson, I could come,” Jason Aaron said.
“Everything you’re doing for children can be done without letting the public in,” Aaron said.
Heather Smith told the Health Services Committee she depends on the clinic for help when she falls ill because she cannot adequately prepare her children for school if she gets sick.
Smith said reckless driving is the primary danger she has seen at the school.
Latrelle Curt said the frustration that boiled over at two earlier meetings stemmed from the parents’ attempts to get answers to simple questions.
“Listen to us and not push us off,” she said.