Monday 10 December 2018

WATCH: Moment teacher handcuffed and arrested after challenging pay

Mythili Sampathkumar

A Louisiana teacher was forcibly removed from a school board meeting and arrested after saying that pay raises for leadership on the board was a "slap in the face" to all teachers.

Deyshia Hargrave, a teacher in the Vermilion Parish School System, asked questions regarding the board's consideration of a $38,000 (€31,720) raise for the superintendent of the school system.

She was taken outside by a police officer, handcuffed, and arrested for resisting arrest.

Ms Hargrave appeared to leave the meeting willingly after the officer approached her and asked her to do so, but in the hallway video showed that she was on the ground being handcuffed and asking "what are you doing?" repeatedly.

When the officer told her to "stop resisting," she responded: "I am not, you just pushed me to the floor...I am way smaller than you."

She is currently out on bond.

The superintendent's pay raise would "basically be taking money out our pockets," she said. Ms Hargrave did not appear to be raising her voice during the meeting.

"A superintendent or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise, I feel like it's a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers, and any other support staff we have," Ms Hargrave noted. 

She was called on twice during the public comments section of the meeting and was told it was not a time for Ms Hargrave's several questions regarding teachers' salaries. Though, after the first time she was called upon, board members did answer some of her questions.

Ms Hargrave told the board: "you're making our job more difficult" by not addressing valid pay concerns.

Superintendent Jerome Puyau told the ABC affiliate KATC that he had called the police afterwards to notify them the school board did not want to press charges for the meeting disruption, but it remains unclear whether the arresting officer was acting under his own accord or at the direction of a member of the school board.

Mr Payou's contract was extended for three years by the board during that meeting and includes incentives for performance.

School board member Laurie Leblanc did speak out for Ms Hargrave after the incident, saying: "what happened here tonight, the way that females are treated in Vermillion Parrish...I have never seen a man removed from this room. Never."

The problem of education funding is nationwide in the US. According to news site Education Week, "a survey of more than 1,800 public and private school teachers conducted in the 2015-16 school year" showed that the average American educator had to spend $600 of their own money in order to provide adequate school supplies for their students.

The National Education Association reported that Louisiana saw the largest decrease in average public school teacher salary between 2014 and 2015, with the average salary for the 2015-2016 school year coming out to approximately $47,000 (€39,240).

Independent News Service

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News