Pleasure Bend students will attend in St. James

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Staff Reporter

RESERVE — Students in the small community of Pleasure Bend, located in St. John the Baptist Parish, will be allowed to continue their education in St. James Parish Schools until the school year of 2009-2010, according to court records.

Ann LaBorde, director of legal and personnel services for the St. John school system, said both school districts had petitioned to allow the students to attend St. James Parish schools.

“It was passed earlier this year that they would be allowed to do that,” LaBorde said.

Last year, children who had been attending the St. James schools were suddenly barred form doing so after the Justice Department notified St. John school administration they were violating the Desegregation Court Order of 1974 in allowing it.

Under parent pressures and what St. John Superintendent Michael Coburn then referred to as “plain, common, everyday sense,” both school systems motioned in March to keep the children enrolled in St. James schools.

The case was handled by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

Pleasure Bend is located on a landmass bound by Lake Des Allemands and St. James Parish. The nearest St. James school to the community is located 3.1 miles away, according to the motion. The nearest St. John school is 20.1 miles.

“TravelÅ  to the remaining portions of the landmass of St. John the Baptist Parish is impracticable for the transportation of school children,” the motion stated.

The order was signed on Mar. 1 of this year.

The order stated the children of Pleasure Bend are approved for attendance at schools in St. James, and that St. John Parish is relieved of obligation to provide transportation for the students.

St. James Parish now transports the students to their respective schools.

However, the motion did also state the plaintiffs reserve the right to petition the court in the future if the number of children “should materially increase” from the 29 children attending the St. James schools.

According to LaBorde, the matter started as a bus issue, and the change in administration in St. John school system.

“It was a gentleman’s agreement between the superintendent’s for years and years,” LaBorde said.

LaBorde also said the administration heard, through research, and by some of the older residents of Pleasure Bend, that at one time the area actually had it’s own school,

“But that was years and years ago,” LaBorde said.