Report of rape prompts changes

The school system and Police Department have made adjustments to procedures at N.P. Moss Preparatory campus following the suspected rape of a female student last week.

“The changes that were made was where the officers are located on campus and how we conduct business,” Sandra Billeaudeau, district assistant superintendent of schools, said Monday.

A police officer trained as a school resource officer is assigned to the school, and since November, two additional police officers have provided support to the campus, said Lafayette police Sgt. Mark Francis, who supervises school resource officers at Lafayette city schools.

Francis said the three officers will remain on the campus to continue to provide support to staff.

“We’ll make sure they’re arriving with just them and their books and not arriving with contraband,” Francis said.

The officers will also assist staff in monitoring other areas of the campus and adjacent property such as the Domingue Recreation Center, which is being used by the school for physical education classes while the campus’ gym is being renovated, Billeaudeau said.

Last week, two Moss Prep students were arrested in the rape of a female student inside the Domingue Recreation Center, said Lafayette police Cpl. Paul Mouton, police spokesman.

A school employee walked in on the students around 10:30 a.m. Jan. 9 and reported the incident to the police officer assigned to the campus as a school resource officer, Mouton said.

He said a 16-year-old student was arrested on one count of aggravated rape and a 13-year-old student was booked on one count of principal to rape. Mouton said the police would not release the age of the victim.

The Moss Prep campus houses the district’s alternative program for students who are removed from their home schools due to discipline issues.

The campus could gain two “safety officers” at an estimated cost of $110,000 if the School Board approves a schools safety package that includes additional personnel for other campuses.

The package was presented to the board at its Jan. 9 meeting. The board will vote on it at its Jan. 23 meeting.

Billeaudeau said Monday that it’s possible the campus may only need one safety officer.

The safety officer positions differ from school resource officers, which are trained police officers who carry weapons and make arrests on school campuses.

“It’s an additional person to help monitor, to keep order with no arresting capabilities,” Billeaudeau said of a safety officer.

The safety officers have also been proposed for Lafayette High, Comeaux High and Acadiana High.

Rather than a safety officer, an additional school resource officer has been recommended for Carencro High as part of the school’s safety package.

On the campus of Lafayette High, the district’s largest with nearly 2,500 students, a safety officer may help monitor student parking lots, Billeaudeau said.

“A lot of students drive their cars to school,” she said. “Well, sometimes there’s a lot of activity in and out of the cars and that kind of stuff. An additional school safety officer may help the school resource officer in patrolling the campus.”

The safety officer would not take the place of a school’s assistant principal, dean of students or principal and would not act as a disciplinarian, she added.

The position is a monitoring one designed to help maintain order on the campus, she said.