What's going on at Starks High School? Concerned parents want answers

What's going on at Starks High School? Concerned parents want answers
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

STARKS, LA (KPLC) - A group of parents have serious concerns about what's going on at Starks High School.

It's an extensive list from bullying issues to inappropriate behavior between school employees and students and much more.

But one question in particular many want answered is how is it possible a janitor with a criminal history can get a job working near children?

More than 200 parents and teachers gathered at Starks High School Monday to address a number of concerns they have with the school's administration. What's their biggest frustration?

"Just basically we're not getting any answers at all," answered Tony O'Banion.

O'Banion, who coordinated the meeting, says one instance deals with a custodian who worked at the school.

"We had a janitor that was employed here and he had a pretty extensive criminal background," said O'Banion.

KPLC confirmed the janitor had multiple arrests and charges of stalking and simple battery, both of which are misdemeanors. For O'Banion, that was enough.

"I went straight to the school and talked to Miss Poole," said O'Banion.

But like other parents Monday, O'Banion says the principal hasn't been helpful, nor the school board.

He added, "Every time we ask they tell us 'Employee issues are confidential and that if we give a list of concerns it'll be taken care of', but they can't tell us how they're taken care of."

So that's what the group did Monday - document their concerns, a good idea, according to Teri Johnson.

"Because everybody can gripe, there's always going to be something wrong, but whenever you make a list and it's compiled in a succinct manner, then the school board has no choice but to look at the list," explained Calcasieu Federation of Teachers President, Teri Johnson.

The group also brought that question to the school board meeting Tuesday, but weren't able to be added to the agenda. While school board officials didn't want to comment on camera, they did release a statement.

The statement says they're now aware of the community concern at Starks High School and feel confident they're addressing each individual incident, but can't disclose much else.

However, their hiring policies are online. For the janitor position, the application states a fingerprint check is mandatory, which is baffling for these parents.

"I don't think he should have been around kids for any amount of time, but much less after there had been complaints," said O'Banion.

O'Banion says after he spoke with the principal he went to the board's public information officer. He says he later learned that janitor was let go.

School officials did confirm the janitor is no longer employed at the school and did pass the background check.

The group plans to address all their concerns at the CPSB's next meeting.

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