BAKER — Stand for Children organizer Derrius Montgomery held up the St. George breakaway city push as an example of the kind of community effort needed to improve Baker’s school system during a forum Tuesday night.
“I got excited about it, not that they wanted to tear the city up, but that people got fed up,” Montgomery said.
Fifteen people attended the Stand for Children group’s meeting in Baker City Hall to discuss how to improve schools in the district.
Montgomery stressed the importance of finding positive solutions rather than just placing blame. “We have to choose one path and work that path until we get the results we need,” he said.
The organization’s goal is to have a “supermajority” of Stand members on East Baton Rouge and Baker school boards after the elections next year. Stand is running candidates in nine of the 11 School Board seats in East Baton Rouge Parish and is searching for “highly qualified” candidates to run in three of the five districts in Baker.
Stand for Children was founded in 1996 and has expanded to 11 states, Montgomery said.
The group’s mission, he said, is to teach people how to improve the public school system.
“The misconception is that we are here to cause trouble, but it’s not trouble for a parent to go to a school and see what you can do,” Montgomery said.
Stand has already identified team leaders for each school in Baker.
Parent Erica Moore said she recently took her five-year-old son to the emergency room after he was kicked in the genitals by another student for the second time at Baker Heights Elementary School.
“There are 26-27 students per teacher and when their backs are turned, kids get hit. All kids have a right to a safe environment,” she said.
Montgomery said he would go to the school with her and try to help. “I want to harness that passion that you have to help all our students,” he said.
Baker school board member Doris Alexander attended the meeting and lauded the efforts of the organization. “It’s going to grow,” she said.