BOURG, La. - The Terrebonne NAACP is accusing the new principal at South Terrebonne High School of harassing two interracial couples at the school.
Jerome Boykin, president of the Terrebonne NAACP, said Principal Dane Voisin called two different pairs of students into his office last week and encouraged them to break off their relationships.Voisin was appointed last week to replace Ken Delcambre, who oversaw the school for 10 years before leaving at the start of the year, citing health concerns.Boykin claims that Voisin called a white girl to his office and told her that it was inappropriate for her to date another student because he is black.Both students are juniors at the schoolTanya Martin, a bus driver whose route includes South Terrebonne, said the girl boarded her bus distraught.'She was crying and she was obviously upset,' Martin said. 'When I asked her what happened, she told us that the principal had called us into the office and told us to stay away from those boys.'Martin said she asked the girl if she had done anything to deserve getting called to the principal's office.The girl said she hadn't and had only been called to the office to discuss her relationship.After speaking with Martin and the pair of students, Boykin also spoke with another interracial couple Voisin allegedly confronted. Boykin then complained to Superintendent Philip Martin, who is not related to the driver.'I told him that there were these problems and that I had serious concerns about them,' Boykin said. 'He said that they took this seriously and would have their own investigation.'Efforts to reach the students' parents Monday through Boykin were unsuccessful.Martin acknowledged Boykin's complaint but refused to discuss any specific actions the school system took, saying it is a personnel matter. He also would not say whether the school system made any determination as to the validity of the accusations.'I can't comment on specifics, but I'm very comfortable that everything has been handled well at the school,' Martin said. 'There has been an appropriate response.'Voisin, who remains principal and has not been suspended, also refused to comment.The accusations come within a week after the School Board appointed Voisin during a tense meeting.Board member Roosevelt Thomas, who is black, accused Philip Martin of selecting Voisin before following a thorough candidate-search procedure.Thomas said he had heard rumors about the students' accusations but wants to 'wait for things to play out before making a decision.''We don't know whether or not this really happened,' he cautioned.Thomas said he will request the results of whatever action the system has taken from Martin.'If it turns out this isn't true, then there's no harm, no foul,' he said. 'But if this is true, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure this gets made right.'Thomas said he plans to take action after tonight's School Board meeting.Staff Writer Matthew Albright can be reached at 448-7635 or at email@example.com.