A Louisiana teacher who was forcibly removed from a school board hearing was booked on two crimes and bonded out of jail on Tuesday morning, court documents show.
Deyshia Hargrave, a middle school English teacher in the Vermilion Parish School District was handcuffed and dragged out of the meeting by a town marshal on Monday night after voicing her concerns about a contract that would give a raise to the district’s top administrator. During the public comments period, Hargrave was asked to stop asking questions, and she obeyed. Then when she was called on again by the board, the marshal stepped up and asked her to leave. The exchange was captured in video footage that has since gone viral.
Hargrave exited the room on her own, but once she reached the hallway, the officer took her to the ground and handcuffed her, leaving onlookers shocked. Court documents suggest she spent several hours in police custody before paying a bond to be released.
“What are you doing, can you explain!” Hargrave yelled as the officer picked her up from the floor and pushed her towards an exit, commanding her to “stop resisting”.
Hargrave responded: “I am not, you just pushed me to the floor!”
School superintendent Jerome Puyau, the man whose potential pay raise was being discussed in the meeting, said that no charges were filed by him or the board against Hargrave. She was, however, charged with “remaining after being forbidden” and “resisting an officer”, both of which can be brought by a marshal, and do not require the school board’s cooperation.
It is unclear if the marshal was acting on his own accord or on the orders of board members or the superintendent.
“Deyshia Hargrave’s expulsion from a public meeting and subsequent arrest are unacceptable and raise serious constitutional concerns,” said Bruce Hamilton of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana. “The constitution prohibits the government from punishing or retaliating against people for expressing their views, and the fact that a schoolteacher was arrested at a public meeting of the school board is especially troubling.”
The Abbeville town marshal’s office, which made the arrest, the superintendent’s office and the school board president all declined further comment on the incident.
After Hargrave was removed, the board ultimately voted to approve Puyau’s new contract.