Focus On CommunityVermilion

The Vermilion School Board Way

Drama at the Vermilion Parish School Board has reached an epic level with two board members Friday accusing Superintendent Jerome Puyau of making a mockery of the board, and they accuse Abbeville’s Police Chief of failing to act because Puyau is white.

Friday a group of people crowded in front of the Vermilion Parish School Board’s office saying Superintendent Puyau is in violation of direct orders from the school board, his employer. Puyau tells NEWS15 the board doesn’t hold the authority to put him on administrative leave and he’s going to keep working,
“My contract is with cause, and there is no cause. There are some allegations, and I said investigate the allegations. But there is no reason, and the board has no authority to put me on leave. None.”

NEWS15 was in the Vermilion Parish superintendent’s office today and found his door was open, but being “locked in his office” isn’t the only issue two board members have with Puyau. Kibbie Pillette, a member on the board expressed his frustrations saying, “the man has the Vermilion Parish School System as a hostage. We can’t hold meetings because he interferes with the agenda items. We can’t do anything.”

On July 25 the board voted to place Puyau on administrative leave, but according to his contract, the board only has the authority to hire and fire the superintendent.

Abbeville Police Chief William Spearman told NEWS15, “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.” Chief Spearman finds himself in the middle for not having any legal cause to remove Puyau from the office.

Pillette believes “if the superintendent would be a black man he would’ve been out of that office on Friday.” On the other hand, Chief Spearman says, “it has nothing to do with racial. It has absolutely nothing to do with it.” He says the frustration between both parties can only be settled in court and advised them to bring their sides to a judge.

“Now, if I get a judge’s order or something from an attorney which is, I’m talking a prosecuting attorney. I will go and I will remove Mr. Puyau.”
The parish school board sits in limbo. With Superintendent Puyau working in his office, and board members calling attorney general’s and state police to have him removed.

Some members of the community who gathered in front of the school board’s office expressed support for Puyau saying more people support the superintendent than the board might realize and say it’s time they all focus on the kids.