A Louisiana middle school teacher was handcuffed, removed from a school board meeting and taken to jail Monday when she questioned the superintendent's proposed pay raise, and her colleagues are now rushing to her defense.
Deyshia Hargrave’s fellow educators are scheduled to hold a rally for her Thursday night in the town of Abbeville. They are demanding to know why she was arrested.
Chaos erupted during Monday night's board meeting when Hargrave expressed frustration with the board's plan to give the superintendent a raise in pay.
"A superintendent or any person in a position of leadership or getting any type of raise I feel like is a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers, or any other support staff we have," Hargrave said.
The English teacher was later approached by a deputy city marshal and escorted out of the room, but was heard screaming in the hall.
The officer was caught on camera telling her to “stop resisting.” Hargrave told the officer she wasn’t resisting but was “pushed” to the floor.
Later, the officer says she was told repeatedly to leave, she responded that she did leave when asked to.
Hargrave, a former “teacher of the year,” was booked on one count of resisting an officer and one count of remaining on premises after being forbidden. She later posted bond and was released.
The superintendent, Jerome Puyau, has not commented on the teacher’s arrest, but defended his raise in an interview with CBS News.
“It was time that we brought to the board a salary that's commensurate with what superintendents are making," he said.
Board member Laura Lebeouf says teachers in the district haven't had a raise in a decade, and called the treatment of Hargrave disgusting, according to CBS News.
However, board president Anthony Fontana is reportedly defending the city marshal's actions.
"A board member was recognized and a board member's getting ready to speak when she cut into him. That's when the officer acted, and I think he acted properly," Fontana reportedly said.
The Vermilion Parish School board and the city prosecutor say they are not moving forward with charges against the teacher. “I have been to hundreds of school board meetings and I saw nothing from her conduct that was different from any of the others I have seen,” the city prosecutor told the New York Times. “I concluded there was no criminal activity on her part.” According to reports, the city marshal was reportedly a school resource officer and not acting in any official capacity with the city of Abbeville.