Photo by Brian Winters.

Attorney General Jim Hood came to the DuBard School for Language Disorders on his campaign trail for governor to tour the school and talk about education.

Hood, along with the director of the DuBard School Missy Schraeder, Ph.D., toured through the school located on campus at Southern Miss, stopping at every classroom and meeting the children. During the visit, Schraeder taught Hood about the school and its students.

The DuBard School for Language Disorders started when Etoile DuBard, Ph.D. founded the school for three students in 1962, and it has grown to house 80 students between the ages of 3 and 13.

“What she started as a school for three children that has expanded over 57 years into a school for children in our full-time program,” Schraeder said. “Our children are all public school children, so what that means is that their families do not pay anything to attend here.”

During the tour, a student in class asked Hood why he wanted to be the governor of Mississippi.

“The attorney general is the lawyer for all of the people in Mississippi,” Hood said. “I’ve done that for four terms, but I see now in our state that we are at a turning point on the issues of education. We need to do more in the area of education, especially early education.”

Hood spoke to every classroom of students individually.

“Ya’ll have a really unique school here, and it’s the only one I know of in Mississippi where you can get what you need in school,” Hood said to a class. “There are a lot of areas that don’t have this.”

Hood said he enjoyed his visit and said he wants to be able to bring more programs like the DuBard School to the state.

“It is really interesting going around and seeing this school, and how much help it brings here to south Mississippi,” Hood said. “[These children] are the reason I am running for governor because we are so fortunate here in the Hattiesburg area to have this like this, but there are so many areas in our state that are lacking.”

Hood also talked about teachers’ salaries after his tour, mentioning that teachers need raises. According to the National Education Association, the Mississippi public school teachers’ average salary is $34,784. In our neighboring states of Alabama, $38,491 is the average, and in Louisiana, $40,303 goes to their teachers.

“We need to pay our teachers. We need to pay them at least the Southern Eastern average,” Hood said. “We need to fund our schools.”

Schaeder was excited to have the candidate come to her school.

“We are always thrilled to have anyone interested in our children come and see what we do here at the DuBard school,” Schaeder said. “Of course, I am always thrilled that we have legislatures that are interested in education. We feel education is the most important thing we can do for our children.”

Senior graphic design major Marissa Haas said she agrees with Hood’s message.

“Some schools don’t have a lot of money, so you need to focus on that,” Haas said. “I’m all for giving more money to education.”

The 2019 general election will include the race between Republican runner Tate Reeves and Democrat runner Hood. The election will take place Nov. 5.

“I want to be the governor for both Republicans and Democrats,” Hood said. “We need to bring each other together. We have to work together to move our state forward.”