A middle school language arts teacher was handcuffed and pushed to the ground in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana on Monday night after being removed from a school board meeting for questioning her district's decision to give its superintendent a raise while teachers' salaries remain stagnant and class sizes soar.
Deyshia Hargrave asked several questions about the superintendent's $38,000 raise before the board voted in favor of the salary increase.
When she spoke after being recognized by the board for a second time during the meeting, a city marshal approached Hargrave and ordered her to gather her belongings and leave the room, before handcuffing her in the hall.
"I have a serious issue with a superintendent or any person in a leadership role getting any type of raise," Hargrave said during the meeting as others in the crowd nodded. "I feel like it's a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers and any other support staff we have."
The superintendent was evidently deemed deserving of a higher salary because the district's performance targets have been met in recent years—a fact that Hargrave argued should prompt raises for teachers, not administrators.
"We're doing the work, the students are doing the work," she argued. "At the top, that's not where kids learn, it's in the classroom. And those teachers like myself are not getting a dime from that, and that is unspeakable."
After she was led out by the officer, alarm spread through the crowd as others in the meeting realized Hargrave was being handcuffed in the hallway, and several community members left the room to follow her and get the arrest on video.
The local ABC affiliate, reported that it was unclear whether the officer had acted on his own accord or under the direction of the school board when he asked Hargrave to leave.
The teacher was booked into the city jail for resisting arrest and remaining at the meeting after first being told to leave, but has since been released on bond.
On social media, many expressed shock at the officer's treatment of Hargrave and her arrest, as well as admiration for her tenacity in the meeting.
#DeyshiaHargrave - As a teacher, I feel for her. As a woman, I feel for her. A takeaway here is that this foregrounds the fear the financially-bloated top must be feeling when called out in public by the underpaid servants of education.
— Saudade70 (@saudade70) January 9, 2018
— Lisa Angela (@intrepidleeloo) January 9, 2018
If you are a teacher in Louisiana, apparently it is illegal for you to attend school board meetings and participate when you are called on.
— Susan Kaspar (@StdPoodleMom) January 9, 2018
This is outrageous. Teacher in Louisiana gets cuffed and arrested for questioning a school board super superintendent's raise. https://t.co/hdxqqqZwv5
— Tim Hannan (@TimHannan) January 9, 2018
For speaking truth to power and they don’t like it!!! Someone will be losing their job and I bet it’s not the teacher. What an embarrassment to the state of Louisiana. I’m a law enforcement supporter but this here is what gives them a bad name!
— Elaina (@latinachica9) January 9, 2018