A Louisiana teacher is to blame after she was arrested for asking a salary question during a school board meeting, according to the board president.
Deyshia Hargrave, a middle school English teacher in the Vermilion Parish District in Kaplan, Louisiana, spoke out on Monday after the school board narrowly voted to increase the district superintendent’s salary. She was ruled out of order by Board President Anthony Fontana for asking a question when board policy said only comments were allowed.
A school resource officer escorted her from the room, and a camera captured her in the hallway, on the ground and in handcuffs. She was led out of the building by the officer.
“What are you doing? Are you kidding me?” Hargrave cried. “Sir, hold on, I am way smaller than you!”
Fontana told WAFB that he felt the teacher was in the wrong, calling her a “poor little woman.”
“This is not about the board, it’s about the teacher and everybody wants to side (with) the poor little woman who got thrown out,” Fontana said. “Well, she made a choice. She could have walked out and nothing would have happened.”
The video appears to show Hargrave walking out of her own accord shortly after being told to leave.
Hargrave said during the meeting that she felt the superintendent’s raise — worth approximately $30,000 — was a “slap in the face” to teachers, cafeteria workers and support staff in the district.
She appears to be incredulous as a school resource officer approaches her and motions for her to exit the meeting. “Is it against policy to stand?” she says, adding, “It was comments for the superintendent.”
As Hargrave is leaving, a person calls out, “This is the most disgraceful and distasteful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Fontana defended the superintendent and likened Hargrave to an unruly student, according to comments reported by WAFB.
“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,” Fontana said. “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 (that) night.”
Fontana also defended the school resource officer, who’s described as well-liked in media reports.
The incident prompted hate mail and threats against the district and local police department where Hargrave was booked. Even a police department with a similar name in Ohio received hate mail, according to a local Fox affiliate.
Hargrave was charged with remaining after being forbidden and resisting an officer, but they were later dropped after the school board declined to press charges, WAFB reported.
On Thursday, Hargrave spoke out during a support rally, according to KLFY.
“Today my heart is broken for many reasons, but my will is not,” she said. “What happened to me should not dissuade others from speaking out and I hope and pray that my experience will empower you, my students, young women to know that they have a voice. Use it.”