NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – There’s violence, escapes, and reports of abuse within the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ), where offenders as young as 13 are ordered to serve their time. Those with a juvenile life sentence will be in the juvenile system until the age of 21.

OJJ heads up four secured facilities throughout the state, including the Bridge City Center for Youth in Jefferson Parish.

“We’re dealing with kids, and it’s heartbreaking. The saying was, ‘If they’re not a true criminal when they get here, they will be when they leave,’” says a former OJJ teacher.

FOX 8 will not identify the teacher who worked as a special ed teacher at Bridge City in 2021. She says classes rarely ever started on time, and the chaos that unfolded the night before always affected her class time with the kids.