Vermilion Parish, LA – A Louisiana English teacher was arrested at a school board meeting on Monday night. (video below).
Deyshia Hargrave was booked into the city jail on charges of remaining after being forbidden, and resisting an officer, KATC reported.
Much of Hargrave’s interaction with the school board was recorded by a KATC news crew that was in attendance. A second video was also recorded by an unnamed person in the audience.
During a public comment portion of the meeting, Hargrave was called upon and expressed her thoughts regarding teacher salaries and pay raises, KATC reported.
“I have a serious issue with 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. We work very hard with very little to maintain the salaries that we have,” she said.
“We’re doing the work. The students are doing the work,” Hargrave continued. “While someone in a position of leadership is getting a raise? It’s a sad, sad day to be a teacher in Vermilion Parish.”
School Board President Anthony Fontana ruled Hargrave out of order and warned Hargrave that she was only allowed to comment, not ask the board questions, The Washington Post reported.
Hargrave sat down, but stood to speak a second time later in the meeting.
She started asking the board members questions and the board again told her that she was speaking outside of the agenda.
A Deputy City Marshal employed by the Vermilion school district approached Hargrave, and calmly told her she needed to leave.
“Excuse me,” she said to the officer dismissively. Hargrave ignored the officer and tried to speak around him.
The officer reached towards Hargrave’s elbow, but she pulled away.
“Do not,” she said to him.
“You’re going to leave, or I’m going to remove you,” the officer said. “Take your things and go.”
Hargrave slowly left and made a few more arguments as she worked her way out of the room.
The officer then followed her into the hallway.
The video doesn’t show what happened the next 15 seconds until the cameraman went into the hallway. It is unclear what transpired after Hargrave left the room.
In the video, Hargrave appeared to have fallen to her knees while the officer handcuffed her.
“What are you doing?” she screamed. “Are you kidding me?”
The officer helped Hargrave to her feet, and told her to stop resisting.
“I am not! You just pushed me to the floor,” Hargrave declared.
The officer led her from the building as members of the crowd followed behind.
School officials did not want to pursue charges against Hargrave, and Abbeville city attorney Ike Funderburk declined to prosecute her, KATC reported.
“I have reviewed the video and I am not going to approve any charges against the teacher,” Funderburk said. “I talked with the attorney for the school board, and they do not wish to pursue any charges against the teacher.”
It was unclear whether the officer who arrested Hargrave did so of his own accord, or if a member of the school board directed him to remove her.
The Abbeville Police Department has been flooded with calls complaining about the teacher’s treatment, but the department isn’t involved, because the officer was employed by the school board.
KATC reported that Board President Anthony Fontana thinks the whole thing was a set-up, saying:
“If a teacher has the authority to send a student, who is acting up and she can’t control, out of the classroom to the principal’s office, under our policy we have the same rules.
“We have certain rules: three minute speech, it has to be civilized, it can’t get off target, it has to be related to the issue before the board. That’s not what was happening last night.
“The marshal did his job. He went over there to settle it down. He couldn’t settle it down. She’s the one who made the choice to continue speaking,” Fontana said. “He was taking her out. He wasn’t arresting her. He was escorting her out, telling her don’t come back tonight. It escalated out in the hall and she ended up getting arrested.
“He did exactly what he was hired to do. He followed the procedures completely. She’s the one who made the choices that got her arrested “
You can see the video of the arrest below. The confrontation starts around the 7:20 mark: