A Teacher Was Handcuffed After Questioning The Superintendent’s Pay Raise At A School Board Meeting
Deyshia Hargrave, an English and language arts teacher at Rene A. Rost Middle School in Abbeville, addressed the school board while they were considering a vote to approve Superintendent Jerome Puyau’s contract with a $38,000 pay raise, WGNO reported.
Noting that class sizes had grown, Hargrave told the Vermillion Parish School Board that it was “unspeakable” and “absurd” that the superintendent was getting a raise “when teachers are working this hard, and not even getting a dime.”
“It’s a sad, sad day to be a teacher in Vermillion Parish,” Hargrave said.
She told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that the district had been carrying out teacher cutbacks and that staff members were being treated unprofessionally while facing increasing demands.
“It’s not fair that the little money we have is going to the top and not to the teachers and support staff,” she said. “It just didn’t seem to right to me that the superintendent was getting a raise, when no one else is getting one.”
She added that the superintendent was always getting credit for the teachers’ work and that his raise of $38,000 was the salary of a teacher, or two cafeteria workers, or two janitors.
During the meeting, her comments prompted board president Anthony Fontana to rule Hargrave out of order during the meeting, KATC reported. Hargrave, however, told BuzzFeed News she did not know if that was the case.
After the vote, Hargrave — who was recognized by the board — told them, “How are you taking the raise when you are basically taking from the teachers and the employees under you?”
As people in the audience agreed with Hargrave, Fontana banged his gavel multiple times and ordered Hargrave to stop talking because the raise “wasn’t on the agenda” — promoting several others in the meeting to disagree.
As Puyau began to directly address Hargrave’s concerns, the city marshal officer asked her to leave.
Hargrave told BuzzFeed News that she thought the officer was “confused” and did not understand the protocol at board meetings where members in the audience are allowed to comment if they are recognized by the board.
“It’s something I have done before and never gotten escorted out, let alone arrested,” she said.
The video showed Hargrave struggling with the officer and screaming, “What are you doing?” He told her to “stop resisting,” to which she replied, “I am not, you just pushed me to the floor.”
Hargrave said that the officer handcuffed her left arm and she fell to the ground when he pulled her right arm back.
She said she was “clearly” not resisting his attempts to restrain her and kept telling him that he was taller than her.
It is unclear if the security officer was ordered by the school board to arrest Hargrave and remove her from the meeting. She said that the she kept tripping on the wet floor, but that the officer continued “dragging” her down the hallway.
The superintendent said that the board would not press charges against Hargrave, but Hargrave told BuzzFeed News she was charged and released on bond Monday night.
She declined to specify what the two charges against her were and was unclear about who had pressed the charges.
Hargrave’s school, Puyau, Fontana, and the city marshal’s office did not respond to BuzzFeed News’s request for comment.