Board President Responds After Viral Video Showing Teacher’s Arrest
A Louisiana teacher that spoke out about teachers pay at a school board meeting was subsequently removed and arrested. Now the board president is responding.
Dramatic footage that has since gone viral, shows the teacher addressing the school board members during the public comments section. But she was escorted out the second time she approached the podium, resulting in a physical scuffle in the hallway.
Deyshia Hargrave, an English language arts teacher at Rene Rost Middle School, was arrested on Monday night for charges of “remaining after being forbidden and resisting an officer.” However those charges were dismissed on Tuesday, Jan. 9, after Ike Funderburk, Abbeville, Louisiana’s city attorney and prosecutor, reviewed the video KATC-TV reported.
“I have reviewed the video and I am not going to approve any charges against the teacher,” Funderburk told the network. “I talked with the attorney for the school board, and they do not wish to pursue any charges against the teacher.”
Hargrave had addressed the school board about teachers salaries while questioning the superintendent’s pay raise.
“I have a serious issue with a superintendent, or any person in a position of leadership, getting any type of raise,” Hargrave told board members from her seat. “I feel like it is a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers and any other support staff we have.”
Vermilion Parish School Board president Anthony Fontana, who is also an attorney, spoke out about the incident and thinks the whole thing was a “set up.”
“The other four board members, now three, have been committed to getting rid of the superintendent. No matter how good the policy might be, they would be against it to cast disfavor on the superintendent to prevent him from getting a contract,” Fontana told KATC-TV. “The whole issue, from day one, was that they were not going to give him a contract.”
According to KATC-TV, the two board members had been at odds with Fontana over the superintendent’s pay raise and had even boycotted meetings last fall.
Footage shows Hargrave screaming at an Abbeville city marshal after he allegedly pushed her to the ground.
“Stop resisting,” the officer can be heard telling her after she was placed in handcuffs. She then responds “I am not – you just pushed me to the floor. Sir, hold on, I am way smaller than you.”
During the board meeting, Fontana ruled Hargrave “out of order” after she posed several questions during the comments section of the meeting.
At Monday’s meeting, the board approved a renewal of superintendent Jerome Puyau’s contract, including the first raise he had received for the job since 2013. His salary increased from $110,190 to $140,188, an increase if $29,998.
Puyau told KATC on Monday night that he called the police to ensure that they were not pressing charges against Hargrave, but she was booked anyway, records show.
Full video below:
According to AP, the board’s office went on temporary lockdown after getting death threats from around the world in response to the viral video.
Threats have even come from South America, Australia, and England, as well as other U.S. states, Fontana told The Advertiser newspaper Tuesday. He said they have been reported to the FBI and local police.
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