Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

Teacher handcuffed at school board meeting after bringing up salary

Teacher handcuffed at school board meeting after bringing up salary Teacher handcuffed at school board meeting after bringing up salary
Andrew Cummings | 10 January, 2018, 01:29

Deyshia Hargrave, a language arts teacher at Rene A. Rost Middle School in Vermillion Parish, stood up at a school board meeting on Monday to ask why superintendent Jerome Puyau was receiving a large raise while educators and other staff members were not.

A Louisiana teacher was forcibly removed from a school board meeting and arrested after saying that pay raises for leadership on the board was a "slap in the face" to all teachers. Hargrave was questioning how the superintendent could get a raise, when teachers hadn't seen a pay increase in years.

She was called on twice during the public comments section of the meeting and was told it was not a time for Ms Hargrave's several questions regarding teachers' salaries.

A city marshal on duty at the meeting approached her as she continued to speak and directed her to leave the room. Next, she is seen on the hallway floor, being handcuffed behind her back and then escorted from the building.

The board member said what was on the agenda was the superintendent's new contract and members of the audience answer back, "with a raise".

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Ms Hargrave did not appear to be raising her voice during the meeting.

"You're making our jobs more hard", she said.

Puyau told KATC that the district will not press charges against Hargrave. She was, however, charged with "remaining after being forbidden" and "resisting an officer", both of which can be brought by a marshal, and do not require the school board's cooperation.

He also added that the marshal who arrested Hargrave is a school officer employed by the school board who was "not acting in any official capacity on behalf of the city of Abbeville". The Constitution prohibits the government from punishing or retaliating against people for expressing their views, and the fact that a schoolteacher was arrested at a public meeting of the school board is especially troubling.

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