This story just makes my blood boil. Deyshia Hargrave is a middle school teacher who teaches English language arts at Rene Rost Middle Schools in Kaplan, Louisiana. She went to a school board meeting that went very wrong for her and fast. During the meeting they were discussing giving a raise to the superintendent. Teacher’s raises there have been frozen for years. Hargrave had the nerve to question that, considering that the school board was about to give the superintendent a raise of $38,000 for that year alone in addition to his salary. What happened next is a blatant violation of free speech and her constitutional rights. All she wanted to know was why this guy keeps getting humongous raises and the teachers doing the actual work are frozen.
This brave teacher tried to ask several questions about the massive superintendent raise. Board president Anthony Fontana ruled Hargrave out of order, warning her that the public comment section was not for a question-and-answer session. The teacher was called upon a second time for comment. After posing another question, an Abbeville city marshal on duty at the meeting grabbed Hargrave and removed her from the meeting. Yelling ensued after he then shoved her to the ground… hard. He handcuffed her and escorted her out of the building. And no one did a damn thing. No one. Just freaking shameful. Another good ole boy network at play.
A Louisiana teacher was ruled “out of order” after telling her local school board it was “slap in the face to the teachers…” that the superintendent was getting a raise – that teacher was then strong armed by a marshal & led away in handcuffs https://t.co/jcaKX4omHA pic.twitter.com/CCQkPl7hrf
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 9, 2018
I have been to many school board meetings. Believe it or not, this is not uncommon. Speech is controlled during these meetings and many times they use the agenda as an excuse to silence those who ask questions that the school board doesn’t like. Not only that, but take a look at your local school board. Maybe yours is different, but mine had single people on it, gay members and then it was rounded out with wealthy businessmen and politicians. Not exactly representative of parents, teachers or students. A school board is an entry way into politics.
Video posted by KATC-TV shows Hargrave screaming at an Abbeville city marshal after he pushed her to the ground. “Stop resisting,” the officer is heard telling her after she was placed in handcuffs. She is heard responding: “I am not – you just pushed me to the floor. Sir, hold on, I am way smaller than you.” There was simply no excuse for roughing this woman up. Shame on that marshal for this. He waited to manhandle this teacher until he got her in the hall. There was just no reason for it. She was not being belligerent or uncooperative. He did it, because he could and just wanted to. He got off on it. That’s abusive and he should have to answer for it.
Every one of those fascist board members should be removed. But that won’t happen. It never does. Even if this is private property or school property, you do not have the right to silence someone like this in America. She was not committing a crime. The teacher was expressing an opinion and asking questions. She was directly addressed by the superintendent. The people around her objected to her treatment as well.
The board voted 5 to 3 in favor of increasing the school superintendent’s salary $38,000 more per year. In 2016, there were calls for Jerome Puyaus’ termination after threats of intimidation were made against teachers and principals. All of that is outrageous. Anthony “Tony” Fontana Jr. is up for re-election in 2018. He ran unopposed in 2014.
I could not tell whether the marshal acted on his own or was directed by the board members. He’s being paid by them off-duty, so I suspect he was directed by them to take this woman out of the meeting. He’s on video roughing her up. Wonder if that was part of the instructions… to send her a message like that.
The superintendent of Vermillion Parish schools said that the school board will not press charges against Hargrave. Gee, how magnanimous of these asshats. The Vermillion Parish schools referred questions to Fontana, who did not respond. The Abbeville Marshal’s Office has not returned phone calls seeking comment either. However, Hargrave was booked into the city jail for “remaining after being forbidden” and resisting an officer, KATC-TV reported Tuesday.
This teacher should sue all of them. She should make a huge media stink out of this or it will just keep on happening. It’s a certainty that after she spoke up and questioned the board members that her job will be toast eventually anyway. They’ll make sure of it. So, I would go all in if it were me and make their lives a living hell. A teacher’s union lawyer is investigating. I hope the lawyer goes after these people. I’m no fan of the teacher’s union, but in this instance, the teacher’s union may just be the good guy here.
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