Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Louisiana teacher handcuffed after speaking out at school board meeting

Teacher escorted out of building in handcuffs  KATC Teacher escorted out of building in handcuffs KATC
Freda Brock | 13 January, 2018, 08:36

After the episode attracted widespread news media attention, the officer involved drew more scrutiny.

Deyshia Hargrave previously spoke out against the Vermilion Parish School Board (VPSB) for voting to give the standing superintendent almost $30,000 raise, which she claimed was a "slap in the face" to hard-working teachers who haven't seen a boost in pay in years. He arrested her and put her into a police vehicle, the video shows.

Hargrave said she did not know what caused the incident to escalate so quickly.

The teachers' unions say the goal of the rally is to raise support for Hargrave, as well as all educators and students in Louisiana. "Honestly, he is very well liked at our school", she said.

"I know there is going to be an investigation, but that was terribly unfortunate".

Puyau told the Daily Advertiser newspaper that he, his family and others in the school system had received death threats.

The issue has become so contentious that the Vermilion Parish school board office went on lockdown Tuesday, but dozens are still overwhelming the OH police department located roughly 1,100 miles north.

The Louisiana Association of Educators and Vermilion Association of Educators hosted the rally for Hargrave at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 11 at Magdalen Square in Abbeville. "By silencing my voice, they've also taken away, or tried to take away, my First Amendment right to speak".

"A superintendent or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise, I feel like it's a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers, and any other support staff we have", Ms Hargrave noted. "What happened to me should not dissuade others from speaking out and hope and pray that my experience will empower you", said Hargrave. So please don't let the conversation end with me. The school board has indicated it does not wish to press charges either.

Ms Hargrave said the blame for her arrest lies exclusively with Mr Fontana and called for him to resign.

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LAE President Debbie Meaux and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García released the following joint statement regarding the arrest of Hargrave.

Brian Blackwell, attorney for teachers' union, said Hargrave is considering legal action.

"I feel like I was being more passionate at previous meetings than I was at this one", she added, insisting she never put a hand on the officer. "The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to investigate this incident and defend the constitutional rights of all Louisianans".

During Monday's meeting, at which the board was voting on the superintendent's raise, Hargrave was called on to speak by board President Anthony Fontana.

The turmoil follows the board's 5-3 vote Monday night approving a new 3-year contract raising Puyau's salary by roughly $30,000, to about $140,000 annually, with incentive targets that could add 3 percent a year. "We work very hard with very little to maintain the salaries we have". "I should have stood up", he said. "It's a sad, sad day to be a teacher". This is when things get heated. But she left the meeting when asked, and there is no evidence she resisted.

Hargrave was called upon a second time for comment.

The deputy is seen in the video telling Hargrave to leave after a tense exchange about a raise for the school district's superintendent, Jerome Puyau.

A Louisiana teacher was removed from a school board meeting, forcibly handcuffed and jailed after questioning pay policies during a public comment period. "They're fine, so I'm fine", Hargrave continued.

The video shows Hargrave getting handcuffed on the floor of a hallway.

Hargrave declined, at first, to say with certainty whether she would file a lawsuit in the matter.

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