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Community reacts to the closure of Catahoula Elementary School in St. Martin Parish

Parents and members of the community are upset that the PreK-5 school has been ordered to permanently close by a federal judge.

Posted: Jun 30, 2021 11:29 AM

ST. MARTINVILLE, LA (KADN)- Parents and members of the community are upset that Catahoula Elementary, a decades-old elementary school in St. Martinsville, was ordered to close for the 2021-2022 school year by a federal judge.

“One of the reasons I moved to Catahoula was for my kids to be a part of a small close-knit community school because my oldest thrives better in a small classroom,” Rylan Sidener, a parent of two students at Catahoula, said.

The St. Martinville school district was ordered to close Catahoula Elementary by a federal judge following a decades-long segregation lawsuit.

Now parents, like Sidener, have to figure out a new game plan for their children.

“I am disabled. So, being so close to the school gives me peace of mind so if something happens, I'm right here I can hurry up and get there,” she said.

The mother has two children that attend Catahoula Elementary and one who would have been enrolled this year.

“If they have to move schools, he will not be going to Pre-K, I'm going to have to hold him until kindergarten until I can figure something else out,” she said.

Catahoula Elementary had a total of 143 students who were enrolled there last school year. Some parents have already told their kids that they won’t be returning in the fall.

“My little boy is worried about it because he is going to be thrown into a school where he has no friends and the little girl is going to be the same way,” Patrick Champagne, a grandparent of two former Catahoula students, said.

Other members of the community say that they will be sad to see the school permanently closed.

“It’s about the kids, and it's about the underprivileged kids, that won't be able to afford to get driven to school every morning,” Clay Courville, an alumnus of Catahoula Elementary and neighbor of the school, said.

Students who attended Catahoula Elementary will now be assigned to the Early Learning Center or St. Martinville Primary School.

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