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On Saturday, February 22, Red River United sent four delegates to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers Paraprofessional and School Related Personnel (PSRP) convention at the Marriott Hotel in Baton Rouge.

Robin Herrin (Sun City Elementary, Bossier), Phyllis Mason (Forest Hill Elementary, Caddo), Valarie Littlepage (Sun City Elementary, Bossier), and Jon Glover (Maintenance, Caddo) were tasked with bringing back as much information about how this year’s upcoming legislative session will affect Red River United PSRPs.

The participants at the LFT Convention were welcomed by LFT President, Steve Monoghan, who reminded the PSRPs how important their role and voice is in education is across the state. Monoghan told the PSRP convention that one of the purposes of the convention was to ensure that PSRP voices will be heard this legislative session.

At the conference, Representative Herbert Dixon addressed the LFT convention by urging support personnel to get to know their local representatives – know who they are, know where they stand on the issues, and get in contact with them in any way possible in order to get them to vote the way you want them to vote on issues affecting PSRPs.

LFT Legislative director, Mary Patricia Wray, gave the PSRPs a lot of valuable information about the legislative session. MP talked about a wide array of issues, retirement, job description bills, maternity and extended sick leave policy for support personnel, salary increases and increases to the MFP (the state education budget).

Many awards highlighting exceptional PSRP members were given, including the Geraldine Bell award honoring late longtime Para activist from the United Teachers of New Orleans and founding member of the LFT- PSRP Chapter. Red River United members were split into workshops, retirement for PSRPs presented by Heather Landry of the Teacher’s Retirement System of Louisiana and legal issues presented by Larry Samuels, General counsel of the LFT.

The keynote address was given by Ruby Newbold, Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers from the Detroit Association of Educational Office Employees. Newbold gave the PSRPs a rousing speech, reminding the PSRPs that support personnel are important, their voices matter, and that by working together, teachers and support personnel can work together to transform our schools and stand up for the issues that affect everyone, however, this will only happen if and when we stand up and fight for change.

As the meeting adjourned, hundreds of support personnel left the LFT PSRP convention inspired to work even harder to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education by being active this legislative session.