Settlement conference for Pointe-aux-Chenes Elementary lawsuit scheduled for Thursday

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The legal battle between parents of children at Pointe-aux-Chenes Elementary School and the Terrebonne Parish School Board could be nearing its end.

A federal judge denied a plaintiffs' motion Wednesday to move forward with the lawsuit and scheduled a settlement conference between parents and the school board.

The settlement conference will be held Thursday, Dec. 9.

"Before the Settlement Conference, the parties are to negotiate and make a good faith effort to settle the case without the involvement of the court. Specific proposals and counter proposals shall be made," court documents said.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier heard arguments on whether Terrebonne Parish school officials acted properly when they closed Pointe-aux-Chenes Elementary earlier this year.

The fate of Pointe-aux-Chenes Elementary School could be decided next week, at a settlement conference on Thursday.
The fate of Pointe-aux-Chenes Elementary School could be decided next week, at a settlement conference on Thursday.

The plaintiffs' argument that the board violated Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 was still "plausible based upon aforementioned alleged facts."

Previously, Barbier rejected five of six legal violations parents alleged, including claims the board violated state laws in denying parents' request to convert the school to a French immersion program.

The School Board voted 6-3 in April to send the students to Montegut Elementary, about four miles away, starting this fall. Officials cited decreasing enrollment and cost savings by consolidating resources.

Previously: Parents seeking to block Terrebonne's closing of Pointe-aux-Chenes School lose round in court

About a dozen parents filed suit June 11 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, asking a judge to keep the school open by offering classes in the French language Native American and Cajun families in the small community have spoken for generations.

Named as defendants are Terrebonne Superintendent Philip Martin and School Board President Gregory Harding. They are represented by Stanwood Duval of Duval, Funderburk, Sundbery, Richard & Watkins of Houma.

The plaintiffs are represented by Louis Koerner of the Koerner Law Firm of New Orleans.

Correction: The plaintiffs' argument that the board violated Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 was rejected was incorrect. The Courier/Daily Comet regrets the error.

This article originally appeared on The Courier: Settlement conference for elementary school lawsuit scheduled next Thursday

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