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Louisiana teacher arrested at board meeting after questioning superintendent's pay

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Posted at 4:23 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 08:30:08-05

A teacher in Louisiana was led away from a board of education meeting on Monday in handcuffs after speaking out on a new contract for the district's superintendent, KATC-TV reported

Deyshia Hargrave was arrested on Monday night for charges of “remaining where forbidden and resisting an officer.” Those charges were then dismissed on Tuesday after Ike Funderburk, Abbeville, Louisiana's city attorney and prosecutor, reviewed video of the incident, KATC reported. 

Hargrave attended Monday's special meeting of the Vermilion Parish school district, as board members were deciding on a new contract for its superintendent Jerome Puyau. 

“I have a serious issue with a superintendent, or any person in a position of leadership, getting any type of raise,” Hargrave told board members from her seat. “I feel like it is a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers and any other support staff we have.”

After Hargrave spoke for several minutes, a member of law enforcement is seen on a YouTube video of the incident approaching Hargrave. 

“You are going to leave or I am going to remove you,” the officer said. 

She then gathered her belongings and left the room, to the dismay of other attendees who chastised members of the board. 

Shouting could then be heard later in the You Tube video. As the videographer catches up to Hargrave, she is seen outside of the venue in handcuffs. 

The district's board president, Anthony Fontana, told KATC that he believes the whole incident was a "set up."

"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 told the station. "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 last night.

"The marshal did his job. He went over there to settle it down. He couldn't settle it down. She's the one who made the choice to continue speaking," Fontana said. "He was taking her out. He wasn't arresting her. He was escorting her out, telling her don't come back tonight. It escalated out in the hall and she ended up getting arrested."

Fontana added that the board office was under lockdown on Tuesday due to death threats. 

KATC reported that Puyau's contract called for a raise from $110,190 to $140,188. The raise marked Puyau's first since 2013. 

Hargrave is listed as an English and language arts teacher at Rene A. Post Middle School.