Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Teacher Arrested at Board Meeting After Criticizing Boss' Raise

Teacher Arrested at Board Meeting After Criticizing Boss' Raise

Three days after the arrest of Vermilion Parish teacher Deyshia Hargrave, people gathered together to support her at a community rally in Abbeville Thursday.

A video showed a city marshal, identified as Reggie Hilts, approaching her as she spoke during a portion of the meeting dedicated to public comment.

The officers denied that excessive force was used, saying the man had resisted arrest during a dispute over his lawn. She was booked into jail but released, and authorities said she will not be prosecuted.

The public backlash in the wake of a viral video showing Hargrave's ouster from the board meeting has been severe.

"Leave our community out, and our schools, and stay away", he said.

"I know there is going to be an investigation, but that was terribly unfortunate". The school was even forced to go into lock-down.

At the rally, Hargrave exhorted educators to continue the fight for more accountability among the school district's administrators.

The incident has gained national and worldwide attention, with civil rights and educator groups calling it a violation of Hargrave's First Amendment rights.

"I'm hoping for teachers, people outside of education to have a voice, show up - you don't have to say anything, just show up, just do something", she added. This particular issue directly involved me, directly involved my students, my fellow educators and support staff, cafeteria workers, citizens outside of the school system. So I chose to speak out. "I hope and pray my experience will empower you". So please don't let the conversation end with me.

School board president Anthony Fontana also defended the actions of the officer in an interview with KATC, comparing the action taken to a student's being punished for unruliness.

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

"I have a serious issue with a superintendent or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise", Hargrave said before the board and others in attendance. "I've never been handcuffed in my life".

The Louisiana Association of Educators said in a statement Tuesday that one of its attorney's was working with Hargrave on the next steps to take. He pulls her down a hallway and outside, as people from the meeting trail them. She asked board members why they were raising the superintendent's pay - which was about $110,000 before the raise was approved at the meeting - when teachers had not received a raise for years. "We work very hard with very little to maintain the salaries we have". "It's a sad, sad day to be a teacher".

According to school board member Kibbie Pillette, Mr Fontana then beckoned off-camera to the officer, who interrupted Ms Hargrave while she was speaking and ordered her out. "The capture of center school teacher and LAE and NEA part Deyshia Hargrave is a chilling encroachment on her rights however instructors won't be hushed".

Hargrave was captured by the Abbeville Police Department however Abbeville city lawyer and prosecutor Ike Funderburk disclosed to KATC that subsequent to viewing the video, he won't arraign Hargrave.

However, Hargrave added, "They're fine, so I'm fine". The two were briefly out of the view of cameras, and then the video picks up of the teacher on the floor, being handcuffed.

People are incorrectly sending the Vermilion Police Department hate mail over an incident in Louisiana, and Chief Christopher Hartung is exhausted of it. Asked how he saw that, he said he had left his seat at the front of the room to see what happened.

Hargrave was charged with resisting an officer and remaining on premises after being forbidden.

She is now out on bond.

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