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Alum of L.B. Landry protests alleged LHSAA prejudice

3rd June 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Lianna Patch
Contributing Writer

An alumnus of L.B. Landry High School in Algiers, La., is protesting the alleged exclusion of his alma mater from 2012-2013 membership in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LSHAA).

Jerome Haymond, a self-described “alumnus and supporter” of L.B. Landry, says he plans to pursue legal action against the LSHAA for the school’s ineligibility for membership during the just-ended 2012-2013 school year.

Both public and private schools are eligible for LSHAA membership after meeting a set of rules. Among other requirements, applying schools’ athletic directors, administrators, and head coaches must attend a meeting wherein LSHAA officials review and explain the organization’s policies. Haymond claims that L.B. Landry applied for membership in January 2012, which would make the school eligible for membership on July 1 of the following school year, according to the LSHAA Constitution.

Haymond cited the 2013 Indoor State Track and Field Championship as a “turning point” in L.B. Landry’s alleged mistreatment. A Landry athlete finished first in his class (3A) in the Division II 400-meter dash, which, according to Haymond, should have qualified the boys’ track team for inclusion in the May 2013 Outdoor Track and Field State Championships. Landry athletes were not permitted to register.

On the morning of Friday, May 31, Kenny Henderson, executive director of the LSHAA, clarified the organization’s eligibility policy, explaining, “Once you join the association, there is a one-year probationary period that you are not eligible for honors. That was last year, 2012-2013, for L.B. Landry.”

In addition, Henderson cited a letter from Patrick Dobard, Superintendent of the Recovery School District, noting that L.B. Landry High School will be merging with O. Perry Walker High School. According to Dobard’s letter, the school will be called Landry Walker. “They will be allowed to play ball next year and compete for championship honors,” Henderson said. “Even if they didn’t merge with O. Perry Walker, they would still be eligible to compete this year.”

L.B. Landry administrators have not sanctioned Haymond’s actions, and have previously had him removed from school premises. “The athletic director told me it wasn’t my job” to take on the issue of Landry’s eligibility, Haymond said, additionally stating that the school is “trying to hush it up.” Haymond stated that he was planning to file a civil suit against the LSHAA, and that he is disappointed in L.B. Landry administrators for “teaching children to accept losing as a way of life.”

This article originally published in the June 3, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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