Louisiana teacher handcuffed, jailed after criticizing school superintendent’s raise

Author: AnneClaire Stapleton and Holly Yan, CNN
Screenshot taken from video on CNN/KATC

Deyshia Hargrave couldn’t believe her Louisiana school district’s superintendent was slated to get a raise while teachers like herself struggled. So she spoke up at a school board meeting.

“You’re making our job even more difficult,” she told the Vermilion Parish school board, according to video from CNN affiliate KATC.

“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.”

Hargrave was called on twice during the public session of the school board’s meeting. But KATV video shows that as she continued sharing her concerns, a city marshal hired by the school district escorted Hargrave out and handcuffed her in a hallway.

The video shows Hargrave screaming, “What are you doing?” at the marshal.

“Stop resisting,” he says.

“I’m am not! You just pushed me to the floor!” Hargrave yells as she’s forcibly led out of the building. “I am way smaller than you!”

Hargrave was booked into the Abbeville, Louisiana, jail and then released on bond soon after, according to Abbeville police.

It’s not clear if the marshal, hired as a resource officer to provide security, acted on his own or under the direction of a board member, KATC said. CNN has reached out to the city marshal’s office for comment.

But school board member Laura LeBeouf expressed dismay after Hargrave was taken away.

“What happened here tonight — the way that females are treated in Vermilion Parish … I have never seen a man removed from this room,” LeBeouf said.

Ike Funderburk, Abbeville’s city attorney and prosecutor, told KATC he won’t be prosecuting the teacher.

“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.”

The school board ended up approving the raise for Superintendent Jerome Puyau, whose salary increased from $110,190 to $140,188, KATC reports.

In a statement, Louisiana Association of Educators President Debbie Meaux denounced the way Hargrave was treated at the meeting.

“As an organization that advocates for the dedicated school employees of Louisiana, we firmly denounce the mistreatment of Ms. Hargrave, a loving parent and dedicated teacher serving the students of Vermilion Parish,” Meaux said.

Hargrave believes her right to free speech was violated and she is considering legal action, said Brian Blackwell, attorney for the Louisiana Association of Educators.

“In 30 years I’ve never seen anything like this,” Blackwell told CNN. “This has certainly caused an outrage locally, nationally and internationally from comments I’ve been seeing.”

CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this story.

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