National News

'I'm appalled … and you should be, too': Vermilion Parish teacher speaks out after arrest

Posted January 11, 2018 10:33 a.m. EST

— The Vermilion Parish teacher who made national headlines after she was removed from a school board meeting and arrested for speaking out against a hefty pay raise for the superintendent has responded to her ordeal in a video provided by the Louisiana Association of Educators.

Deyshia Hargrave, who teaches fifth and sixth grade English and Language Arts at Rene Rost Middle School in Kaplan, attended a Vermilion Parish School Board meeting Monday night, at which the board approved a $38,000 pay raise for Superintendent Jerome Puyau.

Hargrave spoke against the raise both before and after the board approved it and called it "a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers and any other support staff we have."

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, but the city of Abbeville's attorney has since said that no charges will be filed against Hargrave.

The incident has gained national and international attention, with civil rights and educator groups calling it a violation of Hargrave's First Amendment rights.

"By silencing my voice, they've also taken away, or tried to take away, my First Amendment rights to speak, and I'm appalled by this, and you should be, too," Hargrave said in the video provided by LAE.

"I was always taught that what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong, and when you see something, you should say it's wrong, even though it doesn't involve you. This particular issue directly involved me, directly involved my students, my fellow educators and support staff, cafeteria workers, citizens outside of the school system. So I chose to speak out."