EBR Youth Services Center up and running

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The truancy center proved to be more than just a place to bring kids who skip school. It's actually where the student who caused Thursday morning's lockdown at Glen Oaks High School ended up after sheriff's deputies found him.

The School Drug Task Force is housed at Youth and Family Services. It's a centralized location for state and local agencies to come together and discuss problems that the parish's youth face: problems that can affect everyone in the long-run.

"This whole center is about, 'why?'," said Roxson Welch, director of the Youth and Family Service Center. "What's going on? What's going on with the family? What's going on with the child?"

Welch says that's why this campus houses so many different agencies.

"Everybody is at the table, and everybody is working through these problems. Everybody's got this knowledge that was just out there that was just unused before...or just not communicated," said Welch.

The school drug task force's location in the center, for example, will make it easier for deputies to find out if 17-year-old Neil Harris was having problems at home or school before Thursday. Investigators say Harris pulled a gun on a classmate during an early morning fight at Glen Oaks High School. He caused a campus lockdown and search for him when he fled the scene. Deputies brought him here for questioning before he was booked into parish prison.

"What I've seen is that kids who automatically react with anger themselves, have usually been taught that," said Welch.

Welch says for the children who were not taught non-violent ways to deal with conflict, this could be the place where parents, guardians and kids can learn those important lessons together.

Harris has been charged for carrying a firearm on school property and aggravated assault. The student he pulled the gun on, 17-year-old De'rrell Haynes was charged with simple battery.

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