Watch video of teacher arrested for questioning superintendent’s raise

Shocking video of a teacher in Louisiana being handcuffed and removed from a school boarding meeting  Monday after she questioned the superintendent’s raise is prompting outrage nationwide.

The new contract approved by the Vermilion Parish School Board enables the school chief to earn a possible $38,000 more a year. (The district is west of New Orleans.) Vermilion Parish teacher Deyshia Hargrave wanted to know if Superintendent Jerome Puyau would accept the increase knowing  teacher salaries haven’t been raised in more than a decade. She told the school board the pay hike was a “slap in the face…it is a sad, sad day to be a teacher in Vermilion Parish.” While it was teachers and students who attained the academic targets for which the superintendent was being rewarded, Hargrave said, “At the top, that is not where kids learn. It is in the classroom, and those teachers like myself are not getting a dime from that. And that is unspeakable.”

Hargrave’s comments angered school board President Anthony Fontana, who defended the actions of an officer in removing her from the meeting.

He told KATC TV: “If a teacher has the authority to send a student, who is acting up and she can’t control, out of the classroom to the principal’s office, under our policy we have the same rules. We have certain rules: three-minute speech, it has to be civilized, it can’t get off target, it has to be related to the issue before the board. That’s not what was happening last night. The marshal did his job. He was taking her out. He wasn’t arresting her. It escalated out in the hall and she ended up getting arrested. He did exactly what he was hired to do. He followed the procedures completely. She’s the one who made the choices that got her arrested ”

The Associated Press talked to two female school board members who told the news service that it’s only women who have been ejected from meetings:

Women have several times been told to leave meetings, while men who speak out have not been removed, board member Laura LeBeouf told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

“When she realized she had to get out, she picked up her purse and walked out,” LeBeouf said. “Women in this parish are not getting the same treatment.”

The board’s other woman member expressed similar sentiments. “No reason for anyone to be treated this way. So far in three years, only women have been removed from board room meetings,” Sara Duplechain wrote in an emailed response to AP’s questions.

It remains unclear why Hargrave was handcuffed. In a longer video posted on YouTube by a reporter for the Abbeville Meridional, the officer is heard telling Hargrave outside the building that he had given her “many lawful orders to leave.” “And that’s exactly what I was doing,” Hargrave insists.

No charges will be filed against Hargrave. The Louisiana Association of Educators issued a statement about the incident.

As an organization that advocates for the dedicated school employees of Louisiana, we firmly denounce the mistreatment of Ms. Hargrave, a loving parent and dedicated teacher serving the students of Vermilion Parish. It is every citizen’s right to speak up for their beliefs. Any action that infringes upon this right is unlawful and unacceptable.

We will continue to support the right of every single school employee to take an interest in, and ultimately stand up for, the best interests of their schools and their students. Aside from these remarks, our association will honor Ms. Hargrave’s wishes and refrain from any additional comments at this time, as the case is ongoing.

A campaign is underway for educators and public school advocates to wear red Friday to show their support of Hargrave. The New Orleans Times-Picayune took the school board leadership and police to task in a column today:

There are two major issues to discuss here: The first is the disrespect that publicly elected deliberative bodies routinely show the public.  The second is the disrespect that American law enforcement officers routinely show the same people. I don’t know who’s less tolerant of back talk – school board members or police – but people in both categories are notorious for throwing their weight around and punishing or attempting to punish people who address them.

Here is a video of the incident. What do you think? (This is just the incident; you can see a lot more of the exchanges between the teacher and board in this much longer video.)

 

Reader Comments 0

25 comments
Kathy
Kathy

Shameful! Totally outrageous in every way. Superintendent should be embarrassed to get a raise when teachers are living on such low salaries. What happened to freedom of speech to voice an opinion at that meeting. Committee needs a total overhaul.

NAACP_voice
NAACP_voice

 No one would care if she was black and the police officer was white.

Then it would be, "you should simply follow police orders"...

Ophelia Hawthorne
Ophelia Hawthorne

@NAACP_voice I disagree.  Most people are looking at this as a teacher being shut down by a fat cat for pointing out that the emperor is naked and not as a black/white situation. 

Max Brill
Max Brill

Another thing for Americans righteous outrage .

Ophelia Hawthorne
Ophelia Hawthorne

Hopefully this will start a teacher revolution.  The more removed you are from the student the less your pay should be. 

TypicalRedneck
TypicalRedneck

She should run against him and use video of the incident as her platform. 

SheckyG
SheckyG

She's lucky those police didn't shoot her---they don't like backtalk when barking orders

readcritic
readcritic

All superintendent salaries should be published by district along with the number of students in the district. The problem is that many perks are rolled into the package and a dollar amount is not attached. All the perks and goodies need to be included and made public. Things like housing subsidies, sick day pay, reimbursement  for sick days not used, insurance policies, transportation subsidies, medical insurance subsidies, vacation days, retirement package, etc. can be eye-opening. It is important to be able to compare apples to apples and decide if the superintendent is worth it.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@readcritic And many times the extras are never brought to the attention of the taxpayers!  Ever!


My school system had about 3,000 students. The "pay" of the then-superintendent was high, but when you added in the perks (none of which had to be accounted for) it doubled the already high salary!

kaelyn
kaelyn

Now the world knows that Vermilion Parish’s school board president is a power hungry dictatorial creep. I hope the people return the favor and show him out of the door during the next election. The teacher is a hero. Someone needs to ask how it’s even possible to give the superintendent a $38k raise when teachers haven’t had one single pay increase in a decade. Time to vote the entire school board out and fill it with people who prioritize the students and those doing the real work.

Nichelle Young
Nichelle Young

Look, she walked away from this without charges and alive. Let it go and attend the next meeting. This time just have more supporters

D'Louisiane Lexi Alex
D'Louisiane Lexi Alex

Fontana said the teacher arrested after Monday's meeting was not following the rules of board meeting procedure. "If a teacher has the authority to send a student, who is acting up and she can't control, out of the classroom to the principal's office, under our policy we have the same rules," Fontana said. "We have certain rules: three minute speech, it has to be civilized, it can't get off target, it has to be related to the issue before the board. That's not what was happening last night. "The marshal did his job. He went over there to settle it down. He couldn't settle it down. She's the one who made the choice to continue speaking," Fontana said. "He was taking her out. He wasn't arresting her. He was escorting her out, telling her don't come back tonight. It escalated out in the hall and she ended up getting arrested. "He did exactly what he was hired to do. He followed the procedures completely. She's the one who made the choices that got her arrested " Fontana said he had to lock down the school board office Tuesday because of death threats. He said he had called police, the sheriff's office and the FBI about the threats.

Astropig
Astropig

They're ALL jackboots.School boards and superintendents are drunk with power and step all over people that get in their way.This case has been percolating here in the northwest corner of the state for a while now and it's also an egregious abuse of power:


http://newschannel9.com/news/local/judge-grants-permanent-injunction-against-walker-co-school-board-free-speech-policy


Fortunately,a federal judge slapped some sense into these little tyrants before any other damage was done.I never saw this covered or even mentioned in the AJC.I guess that they didn't consider it important enough,but its every bit as bad.


The lady above should have been allowed to speak (without hijacking the whole damn meeting) and then let the public decide at the ballot box if they agreed.

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

Not too familiar with this area, but there are 60,000 people in the Parish and the district lists 20 schools on its website.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

I am familiar with this area. They are normal people like you find anywhere else.

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

If have not seen this video, please check it out. It is amazing to me that this teacher was removed from the school board meeting for asking fair questions.

D'Louisiane Lexi Alex
D'Louisiane Lexi Alex

This is a very interesting event. Quite often I hear incidents in our nation with law enforcement and individuals that end in arrest, violence,or death and 98.5% of the time the populace says, "If you'd just comply with the officer, that wouldn't happen". I notice in this particular incident that the populace thinks the law enforcement officer went to far and arrest was excessive. So my question to the populace is, which is it?? Do we have to follow officers instructions to the law, or can we choose not to if we don't think we are wrong? If we are in a public space and are asked to comply to an officer's command, are we exempt because we are exercising our constitutional right? If the school board in fact asked the officer to remove the teacher and she remained, is she exercising her right or is she remaining after forbidden? Just wanted to get opinions of the populace

AJC  Get Schooled
AJC Get Schooled

I have attended so many public meetings where the questioning was far more belligerent than this. I am stunned that any public official -- and it was just the school board president in this case -- would defend this incident. Here is an excerpt from the New York Times to my point: Ms. Hargrave was arrested for allegedly “remaining after having been forbidden” and “resisting an officer,” Ike Funderburk, Abbeville’s city attorney and prosecutor, said in an interview on Tuesday night. But he said that after reviewing the now-viral video, he decided not to pursue charges against the teacher. A lawyer for the school board also did not wish to proceed with charges, he added. “I have been to hundreds of school board meetings and I saw nothing from her conduct that was different from any of the others I have seen,” Mr. Funderburk said. “I concluded there was no criminal activity on her part.”

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

On HER part. 


There needs to be a big fat lawsuit!

Ashley Langford
Ashley Langford

She actually did comply and did leave. She was not given adequate time to get her belongings.