A Louisiana teacher was arrested and removed from a school board meeting this week after she questioned why the board was planning to give the district’s superintendent a pay raise that by itself was nearly equal to a full teacher’s annual salary.
“You’re making our job even more difficult. I have a serious issue with 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, any other support staff we have,” said teacher Deyshia Hargrave, according to video from CNN affiliate KATC of the meeting of the Vermillion Parish School Board. “We work very hard with very little to maintain the salaries that we have, and as I’ve been teaching the last few years, I’ve seen class sizes grow enormously … I just want to say, I don’t care if the performance targets were met. You’re making our jobs even more difficult and we’re jumping through hoops and we’re continuously meeting those goals.”
As Hargrave continued to argue her point, she was approached by an officer with the Abbeville City Marshal’s office who escorted her from the room. It wasn’t clear whether the marshall acted on his own, or whether he was order to remove Hargrave by the board, according to KATC. Video next showed showed a distraught Hargrave on her knees in handcuffs in the hallway, as shocked teachers demanded to know what the officer thought he was doing.
“Stop resisting,” the officer said.
“I am not resisting! You just pushed me to the floor!” yelled Hargrave as the officer dragged her outside the building. “I am way smaller than you!”
Hargrave was booked in the Abbeville jail, and then released on bond shortly after, according to police. City prosecutor Ike Funderburk said that no charges would be pursued against her.
Teachers in the Vermillion Parish, one of Louisiana’s top-rated school districts, were paid an average of $47,041 a year in 2015-16, according to the Louisiana Department of Education. Statewide, teachers earned an average of $48,462. Superintendent Jerome Puyau, who took on the job in January 2013, admitted that it had been several years since the parish’s teachers or other employees had been given a raise. Nonetheless, he said, he felt he deserved the raise of more than $38,000 that was granted to him by the school board, increasing his salary from $110,130 a year to $148,811. The raise made him the 32nd highest paid superintendent in Louisiana, out of a total of 69.
Watch the video of the teacher’s speech, and arrest, below.