No charges for teacher who was removed from Vermilion school board meeting

A Louisiana teacher who spoke out against a superintendent's new contract was handcuffed and arrested during a school board meeting in an incident caught on video.

Deyshia Hargrave, a middle school teacher in the Vermilion Parish school system, was videotaped being escorted out of a room and then wrestled into handcuffs by a city marshal on January 8.

Moments before, Hargrave told district Superintendent Jerome Puyau that it was "a slap in the face" that he would get a raise even though teachers and support staff had not seen a pay hike in years. During the public comments period, Hargrave was asked to stop asking questions, and she obeyed.

Hargrave later raises her hand and when called on again asks a question about the issue of teacher salaries and pay raises. Hargrave voluntarily left the meeting, but as she stepped out into the hallway, the marshal allegedly pushed her and then placed her in handcuffs.

"He's putting her in handcuffs right now", a man can be heard saying on a video taken from inside the meeting room.

After the vote, Hargrave - who was permitted to speak by the board - told them, "How are you taking the raise when you are basically taking from the teachers and the employees under you?" "We work very hard with very little to maintain the salaries that we have". During the confrontation, the teacher falls to the ground while an onlooker repeats, "What are you doing?" She was later released on bond.

Hargrave added that the raise was unwarranted, saying teachers and students have met their performance targets while class sizes have grown.

It was then that the skirmished happened, in what appeared to be a hallway, while the cameras rolled.

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. The way that females are treated in Vermilion Parish, I have never seen a man removed from this room.

In an interview Tuesday, Vermilion Parish School Board President Anthony Fontana stated that he supports the deputy marshal's decision to remove the teacher from last night's school board meeting.

  • Jon Douglas