Tehmi's playing hooky

by Patrick Flanagan

State law requires school board members to attend ethics/governance classes annually. LPSB member Tehmi Chassion has attended none this year and fell short in 2012.

Photo by Robin May

Tehmi Chassion

The fact that school board members from across Louisiana are required by state law to complete a minimum of six hours each year in ethics and governance training has somehow escaped Lafayette Parish School Board member Tehmi Chassion.

According to information obtained in a public records request, Chassion hasn't completed one single training hour this year, and logged only two of the required six hours in 2012.

Act 705 requires school board members to undergo 16 training hours their first year in office and six hours each year thereafter.

That training, according to the law:

[S]hall be in the school laws of this state, in the laws governing the powers, duties, and responsibilities of ... local public school boards, and in educational trends, research, and policy.

Such training and instruction shall also include education policy issues, including but not limited to the minimum foundation program and formula, literacy and numeracy, leadership development, dropout prevention, career and technical education, redesigning high schools, early childhood education, school discipline, and harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

Training shall also include instruction relative to the provisions of the Open Meetings Law ... and the Public Bid Law.

Chassion is part of the board's obstructionist contingency - a group that fights Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper at every available opportunity. Given Chassion's attempt last year to sway the board to hire an administrator for the school system's group health plan, a back-door attempt to benefit his half-brother's business and financial interests, he, more than any other board member, is in need of a good education in ethics.

Several of Chassion's fellow board members, for the sake of comparison, have gone above and beyond the required six hours a year, such as Tommy Angelle and Board President Shelton Cobb, each having logged in excess of 40 hours this year alone.

In fact, the only other board member to not meet last year's requirement was Greg Awbrey (another member arguably in need of a brush-up on his understanding of ethics and governance). Awbrey came up two hours short last year and still lacks one hour to meet this year's requirement.

While playing hooky and failing to meet the requirements of their elected positions, Chassion and Awbrey remain deadset on holding the administration accountable - often on fabricated issues.