Alexandria Daily Town Talk
A recent story about Renaissance Home in Alexandria contained inaccurate information about the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice. I wish to enlighten you about the work we do.
The story about Renaissance Home incorrectly stated that OJJ’s secure care facilities - Jetson Center for Youth near Baton Rouge, Bridge City Center for Youth in Bridge City and Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe, had a total of three students earn GEDs in one year.
In fact, between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011, 52 youth at OJJ’s three secure care facilities earned GEDs. Bridge City (population 120) had seven; Jetson (population 82) had 12 and Swanson (population 165) had 33.
The average youth placed in OJJ custody is 15-16 years old, has been unsuccessful in school and reads on a third grade level. This youth will spend an average of 12 months in an OJJ secure care facility.
Each of our facilities has an on-campus school approved by the LA Department of Education, staffed by certified and experienced teachers. One would have to search hard to find educators more passionate about their work and more dedicated to their students than OJJ’s teachers.
The agency’s mission is to protect the public by providing safe and effective services to youth, who will become productive, law-abiding citizens. All of OJJ’s employees strive daily to meet the mission. They work with an extremely challenging population that requires a great deal of creativity and perseverance on the part of the teaching staff. The fact that many of our youth – who bring a third grade reading ability to our classrooms – leave our facilities with a GED is a testament to our employees.
In closing, let me invite your editorial board and staff, as well as any interested citizen, to visit one of our secure care facilities to observe our schools firsthand. Please contact us at OJJ.PublicInformation@la.gov or call 225.287.7898.
Mary L. Livers
Mary L. Livers, Ph.D., MSW