BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A school principal has been reassigned after a local family has accused her of targeting their young children and letting one sit in his own filth and be exposed to harmful substances.
Mary-Patricia Wray has 3-year-old and 6-year-old boys in the Montessori Pre-K 3 program at Dufrocq Elementary. She has filed multiple state-level complaints, which are in progress. Wray says she’s witnessed over three years of bullying and mistreatment and won’t be silenced.
Wray said her 3-year-old was not immediately changed out of soiled clothes in August. Instead, the school called her and his father to change him. By the time the father arrived, she said, her youngest had been separated from other people and had managed to smear poop all over the bathroom where he was partitioned and his own face.
“They left him in his own feces. They left him in rat trap glue that he was exposed to because of an ongoing rat and fly infestation at the facility. Keep in mind, there are children as young as three,” said Wray.
Wray alleges that the principal led the abuse, while also targeting her children, one of whom has with disabilities.
“They called a meeting to discuss suspension. That didn’t go very well for them because I was prepared for the meeting. The next week, he was written up two more times and removed from the school’s federally funded before and after care program by the principal, “said Wray.
Principal Ariane St. Julien is no longer working at Dufrocq School. On Thursday, Oct. 12, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System released a statement saying principal St. Julien has been is now a principal on assignment.
According to the statement, “Dufrocq Assistant Principal Courtney Turner has been named interim principal for the remainder of the 2023-24 school year.
“Kelly Washington, a Montessori specialist at Belfair, will transition to assistant principal at Dufrocq to strengthen Montessori guidance within the school. These changes come after much analysis and consideration to refocus our efforts related to the Montessori specialty. We are proud to join Belfair as the only schools in the East Baton Rouge School System to offer Montessori instruction, and we are working to get all teachers certified in the Montessori model,” the statement concludes.
The statement did not clarify why St. Julien was reassigned.
“But she still has a license as an educator, and it’s very clear that what the district is doing is trying to make her removal or departure appear as though it’s not connected to the child abuse that’s occurring,” said Wray.
Wray says the district has agreed to speak with her and address her concerns, but she plans to keep highlighting her concerns and telling other parents about their rights.