School board to consider hiring security personnel for meetings

The Lafayette Parish School Board could approve a policy by next month that would enable the board president to hire security personnel for its meetings.

The board’s Executive Committee met this week to discuss a new policy related to hiring security personnel.

“The policy gives the board president the ability to request and have security at regularly scheduled meetings,” board President Hunter Beasley said.

Beasley said because the Executive Committee met Tuesday afternoon, there wasn’t time to place the policy on the full board’s meeting agenda the next day. The policy will appear on the board’s introductory agenda for its next meeting April 2, Beasley said.

While the board has occasionally hired security personnel to attend meetings expected to draw large crowds to speak on hot-button issues, the practice has been rare. The last time the board hired a security officer was for its Feb. 13 meeting, which was a special meeting to discuss a contentious issue: the demand letter of an insurance consultant for $200,000.

The issue was previously discussed during a regular board meeting on Feb. 5 behind closed doors in executive session and ended with board member Tehmi Chassion calling the police to report Superintendent Pat Cooper allegedly grabbed his arm. No arrest was made.

In prior discussions about the issue, board members have said security is needed to help maintain order among those who attend board meetings.

It’s not unusual for security to be on hand at public meetings. The Lafayette City-Parish Council meetings are staffed by a plain-clothes police officer.