Classroom politics protested

Delcambre Elementary parents protested outside of the Iberia Parish School Board on Wednesday holding signs demanding the firing of a teacher they said made derogatory remarks about President Barack Obama in the presence of students following Obama’s reelection.

“She needs to lose her job,” said Chassatey Jackson, whose son has since been removed from the fourth-grade teacher’s classroom.

The protesting parents also called for a more diverse teaching staff at the community’s elementary and high school.

Jackson and parent Lindsay Shello lodged a complaint against the teacher after their sons told them their teacher said she was dressed for a funeral on Nov. 7 — the day after the presidential election — because Obama’s re-election meant “the death of the United States.”

Shello said her son also told her that the teacher said the country would become the “new China” because Obama was re-elected.

Shello identified the teacher, who she said is white, as Mandy Briley LeBlanc. She said she decided not to remove her son from the teacher’s class so he would not be separated from his friends.

LeBlanc declined comment on the incident and protest when contacted by email on Wednesday.

Shello, Jackson and about 10 other people held protest signs in front of the Iberia Parish School Board offices on Jane Street. One sign named the teacher and called for her dismissal; another read: “America Is Not Dead. President Obama Has 4 More Years.”

Iberia Parish Schools Superintendent Dale Henderson said district and school staff met with parents and addressed their concerns about the alleged comments.

“This is a personnel matter that has been dealt with,” Henderson said. He declined to say specifically how he had dealt with the issue.

Jackson and Shello said Wednesday that they both lost their job as janitors at Center Street Elementary School for complaining about the comments allegedly made by the teacher.

Until a few weeks ago, the two were employed by a school system contractor, Wilson Janitorial.

“We got fired because (the owner) said they were forcing his hand because we were bringing too much attention to this,” said Jackson, holding a sign that read, “Delcambre Mothers Lose Their Job for Speaking Out.”

Henderson said the owner was neither asked nor pressured into firing the women.

The owner, Raymond Wilson, could not be reached by phone Wednesday.

Wednesday’s demonstration was also a call for the district to diversify its teaching staff at the elementary and high school in Delcambre, said Khadijah Rashad, one of the protest organizers.

Henderson said the district is an equal opportunity employer.

“The School Board does not discriminate in its hiring practices,” Henderson said.