Louisiana teacher removed from school board meeting in handcuffs

Jan 10, 2018, 00:28
Louisiana teacher removed from school board meeting in handcuffs

A Louisiana teacher who spoke out about teacher pay at a school board meeting was handcuffed by a law officer as she screamed on the floor while the officer tried to gain control of her in a brief struggle.

Noting that class sizes had grown, Hargrave told the Vermillion Parish School Board that it was "unspeakable" and "absurd" that the superintendent was getting a raise "when teachers are working this hard, and not even getting a dime". "I feel like it's a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers, any other support staff we have". During the public comments period, Hargrave was asked to stop asking questions, and she obeyed.

The teacher was called on a subsequent time and asked the board another question, according to the report. Hargrave voluntarily left the meeting, but as she stepped out into the hallway, the marshal allegedly pushed her and then placed her in handcuffs.

School board member Kibbie Pillette told KADN-TV that the board voted at the meeting by a 5-3 margin to give the Vermilion Parish superintendent Jerome Puyau a 3-year contract extension with a $38,000 raise.

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She is now out on bond.

"I have a serious issue with a superintendent or any person of leadership getting any type of raise", Hargrave said. Ms Hargrave did not appear to be raising her voice during the meeting.

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

While the board members did recognize it was the teacher's turn to speak, it's unclear if they called the marshal into the room to cut her off or if the officer acted on his own.

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Local reports say Fontana was unfamiliar with the board and its members before the nomination, but his selection was made by Fontana in an effort to split a deadlock vote on approving the raise for Puyau.

Hargrave was booked into the Abbeville City Jail on Monday evening for the charges of resisting an officer and remaining on premises after being forbidden there, arrest records show.

Global News reached out to the Abbeville Marshal's Office, but no one was unavailable for comment.

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