Letter: Shame on lawmakers for changing school's name

The people of Louisiana wanted economic security, improved infrastructure and financing for higher education. Naturally, the legislature’s top priority — Senate Bill 1 — perverted the overwhelming majority’s wishes and changed the name of Louisiana’s only public residential high school. My thanks to Rep. Beryl Amedee, R-Gray, the only Tri-City state legislator who fulfilled her duty to represent her constituency regarding this issue.
When Jimmy D. Long Sr., Robert A. Alost, Donald G. Kelly and David C. Treen Sr. founded the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, they had no personal ambitions other than to foster gifted young minds across the state. These pioneers of high-achieving secondary education asked for nothing in return save the betterment of Louisiana scholars. They never imagined the school would become a political token for legislators to unabashedly tout, to their constituents’ chagrin.
Congratulations to senators Gerald Long and Francis Thompson, who have proven once more that the Old Machine — good ol’ boy Louisiana politics — is still alive and well. Clearly the voice of the people they are meant to represent has fallen on the deaf ears of their self-serving political egos.
Who benefits from this political patronage? Not the school, which begs for private donations and volunteerism from the very donors who were just slapped in the face with this legislation.
Not the public, which has been shown that their voice matters little to those whom their voice is meant to matter most. Above all, not the recipient of this “honor,” Jimmy D. Long Sr., who would undoubtedly be ashamed of the harrowing fracture and irreversible harm his colleagues have wrought upon the institution he adored.
So, the lone benefactors are Gerald Long, Francis Thompson and their co-conspirators, who have demonstrated unrestrained demagoguery in blatantly ignoring the public’s overwhelming disapproval of SB1.
This corruption, this complete disregard for the constituency they are meant to represent in this republic, shall not go unnoticed. We as a state, as students and alumni, parents and teachers, citizens and constituents, will not forget this injustice they have defiantly dealt.

Parker Felterman
Alumnus, Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, 2017
Student, Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts, 2021


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