School Board member Kibbie Pillette
Vermilion Parish School Board vice president says Abbeville police would have removed Puyau had he been ‘a black man’
Vermilion Parish School Board Vice President Kibbie Pillette made a comment on TV accusing the Abbeville Police Department of not doing its job when it comes to arresting Superintendent Jerome Puyau.
On Friday, there was a small demonstration in front of the School Board Central Office. A group of fewer than 10 people gathered to draw attention to the fact that Puyau is going to work despite being put on administrative leave by the school board.
At the demonstration, School Board President Laura LeBeouf and Pillette were in the parking lot at the central office.
The two school board members, who were not acting on behalf of the school board, wanted the Abbeville Police Department to remove Puyau from office.
Abbeville Police Chief Bill Spearman told News 15 TV station, “Before I remove him I want to dot my I’s and cross my T’s, and make sure that we have a legal justification for doing this.”
Pillette said during a phone interview with the TV station, “If the superintendent would be a black man, he would’ve been out of that office on Friday,” said Pillette in the interview.
“It has nothing to do with race. It has absolutely nothing to do with it,” said Spearman.
Pileltte’s comments about if Puyau would have been a black man, the superintendent would have been out of office, did not sit too well with two school board members and Puyau.
School Board member Jason Roy said, “Mr. Pillete’s comments that he made in regards to the chief of police not taking action in removing the superintendent because of the color of the skin is absolutely ridiculous.”
School Board member Dale Stelly added, “I wish he would not have said it, but he did,” said Stelly. “Can not unring a rung.”
Raymond Frederick, a citizen who attends the school board
meetings, was upset with Pillette’s statement.
“That was a racist statement,” said Frederick. “I can’t believe he said that.”
The Superintendent said Pillette’s comment is not what Vermilion Parish Public School system is about.
“Many Central Office personnel spent Friday building on our employees strengths through professional development,” said Puyau. “A positive message of unity and teaching ‘every child, everyday’ was the foundation of the training. The comments made Friday by Mr. Pilette are hurtful, incorrect and impede our unified mission to educate all students. Vermilion Parish support staff, teachers and leaders are united for ‘Our Students’ and ‘Our Vermilion.’ We will continue to teach everyday to improve ourselves and unify the district.”