Louisiana Teacher Handcuffed During School Board Meeting After Questioning Boss’ Raise
If there’s one thing everyone on this planet probably needs to learn—if they don’t know it already—it is that questioning the raises of those above you in the organization for which you work really isn’t really the best of ideas.
Deyshia Hargrave learned that lesson the hard way recently. She was actually handcuffed on January 8, 2018 as a result of her doing so, just after being forced out of the room where a Louisiana school board meeting was being held. She actually ended up in a city jail as a result of her actions.
This occurred at the meeting of the Vermilion Parish School Board; Hargrave, 32, teaches at Rene Rost Middle School, which is located in the small city of Kaplan, Louisiana. Kaplan is part of Vermilion Parish, as is the city of Abbeville.
So there was a city of Abbeville marshal present at the school board meeting, which is typical, and he’s the one that did the handcuffing in the hallway outside of the meeting. First, he forced Hargrave to the ground, and then she ended being dragged out of the building by the man. His name is Reggie Hilts, and he is employed by the school board.
As stated above, Hargrave is in trouble because she questioned the wisdom of a superior getting a raise; in particular, she didn’t like the idea of the school board superintendent getting a raise of almost $40,000 a year, so she brought that up with the school board.
In case you’re curious, the average teacher in Louisiana makes under $50,000, not all that much more than the raise in question, so Hargrave’s concern wasn’t totally unjustified. Also, she brought up that teachers in her district have not seen their pay increase in years.
She called the fact that they were considering giving the superintendent a raise “absurd”.
To get a little more specific, what Hargrave was really taking issue with was a 3-year contract extension for the superintendent, one which ensures regular performance-based pay raises. As she told the board, the raises built into the extension are a slap in the face to her fellow teachers as well as the schools’ support staffs. She told the school board that it was a “sad day” to be a teacher, pointing out that when she started with the school district she only had about 20 kids in a class, and she now has 29 kids in a class.
The contract extension of the superintendent, Jerome Puyau, has been opposed by other teachers in the area as well as by other people in the community.
Anyway, Hargrave dared question the wisdom of the school board, with the president calling her out of order, and officer Hilts didn’t like what was transpiring. He confronted her. Allegedly, Hargrave as well as other teachers had been told the meeting was specifically about the superintendent’s new contract, not their salaries. Hargrave also asked several questions at the meeting, which the board considered out of order, as they didn’t intend for the meeting to be a question and answer session.
So the long and short of it all is that Hargrave was confronted for asking questions about a controversial subject in the area and was therefore escorted out of a meeting, pushed to the ground, handcuffed, and arrested. After being put into a police sports utility vehicle, Hargrave was taken to jail. She was charged with resisting arrest and remaining on the premises even though she was forbidden to be there.
She was released from jail on bond, and the superintendent said the district won’t press charges against Hargrave.
Hargrave, who graduated from the University of Louisiana and is pursuing her master’s degree, actually won a teacher of the year award back in 2016. She has a daughter and a second job, working in online sales.
A couple of school board members were vocal in their support for Hargrave, even if board president Anthony Fontana was critical of the teacher’s actions. One of them, Laura LeBeouf, pointed out that the incident just goes to show how women are treated in the Parish of Vermilion. Another board member, Sara Duplechain, noted that only women are removed from board meetings.
The board did vote in favor of the superintendent’s contract, which means Hargrave is going to be working under a man who probably isn’t her biggest fan.