ABBEVILLE, La. — The Vermilion Parish teacher who made national headlines after she was handcuffed, removed from a school board meeting and booked into jail for asking questions about a big raise for the superintendent will not face criminal charges, according to KATC.
Abbeville city attorney Ike Funderburk told the Lafayette ABC affiliate that he would not approve any charges against Deyshia Hargrave.
Hargrave, a middle school language arts teacher, spoke prior to the school board’s vote on a new and questioned the school board’s decision to consider a $38,000 raise for Superintendent Jerome Puyau.
“I have a serious issue with a superintendent or any person of leadership getting any type of raise,” Hargrave said. “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 we have.”
Hargrave also expressed frustration that “performance goals” were cited as the reason for the raise when teachers are responsible for helping the school system reach those goals.
After the board approved the raise, Hargrave was again recognized by the board and voiced her frustrations. According to KATC, at least one school board member ruled her “out of order” at one point during the discussion.
While she was being recognized by the superintendent, an Abbeville city marshal approached her and asked her to leave. Shortly after being escorted out of the meeting, Hargrave was handcuffed by an Abbeville city marshal.
She was booked into the city jail on charges of remaining where forbidden and resisting an officer.
The Louisiana Association of Educators has weighed in and said the association’s attorney is working with Hargrave on what to do next.
The ACLU of Louisiana released the following statement in response to Hargrave’s arrest:
“Deyshia Hargrave’s expulsion from a public meeting and subsequent arrest are unacceptable and raise serious constitutional concerns. The Constitution prohibits the government from punishing or retaliating against people for expressing their views, and the fact that a schoolteacher was arrested at a public meeting of the school board is especially troubling. The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to investigate this incident and defend the constitutional rights of all Louisianans. We urge anyone whose rights have been violated to contact us.”
KATC also interviewed the superintendent in question a day after the incident. Although he would not discuss the teacher’s removal or anything related to Hargrave, he did defend the board’s decision to give him the hefty raise.
“When I started our district was ranked right at number 17, out of the 69. Over the course of several years, we have improved to where we now rank number six,” he told KATC.
Vermilion Parish also bumped up from a ‘B’ to an ‘A’ rating, making it one of just two ‘A’ school districts in the eight-parish Acadiana region.
Here’s the full video of the incident: