Teacher Violently Arrested for Questioning Superintendent’s Hefty Raise

A firestorm is brewing after a YouTube video†was posted depicting the arrest of a teacher at a†school board meeting in Louisiana.

According to the teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, the Vermilion School Board was voting on a three-year contract extension in addition to a $38,000 salary bump for the school district’s superintendent. Meanwhile, teacher salaries have remained largely stagnant, even as they’ve met academic goals in the face of increased classroom sizes.

After ignoring Hargrave’s inquiry, the board†voted to approve the proposal. After the decision, another teacher stood and questioned why the superintendent’s evaluation had not been made available to the faculty; her question was also dismissed. Hargrave then stood again to protest the vote while murmurs from teachers seated with her grew in support.

It was at this point that a policeman approached Hargrave and told her to gather her belongings and leave — just before appearing to place his hand on his holstered pistol. When the officer moved to grab Hargrave, she asked that he refrain before then moving to exit the meeting room.

Moments later, Hargrave could be heard from the doorway saying, “I just wanted to apologize to the public” before, as the video shows, being slammed to the ground by the officer and placed in handcuffs. Clearly stunned and upset, she was led out of the building to a parked cruiser where a small crowd gathered to bear witness.

At this point the officer can be heard saying, “Someone else is going to be arrested,” to which either Hargrave or a bystander asks, “For what?” In response, the officer says, “For intimidation.”

He then radios for backup and soon a vehicle arrives and Hargrave, handcuffed, is placed inside. She was later released from jail after posting a $900 bail.

The video below, while over 12 minutes long, is worth watching, but it may be somewhat disturbing for some viewers:

Let’s set aside Hargrave’s claims for just a moment. This still does not excuse the frankly bizarre escalation of force employed by the policeman who confronted her. To say that†Hargrave†was being unruly would be a stretch, but to say she†posed a physical threat to the officer or anyone else would be patently wrong.

And†the incident is even more upsetting and outrageous, given that Hargrave’s grievances are not at all unfounded.

Nationwide, American teachers make an average of roughly $45,000 annually — but just $30,000 on average to start. However, in Louisiana, teacher’s median yearly salary comes to $39,000. To put this in perspective, the Vermilion School Board’s controversial vote involved giving the district’s superintendent a $38,000 raise on top of his current salary.

Maybe Hargrave and her colleagues have good reason to be up in arms over this decision.

But what this incident shows is that dissent — even in what was and should have remained a benign debate regarding education — was literally repressed with violence. In many ways,†the incident has overtones of the violent actions police and vigilante groups once used to retaliate against workers lobbying for fair wages and reasonable labor protections.

It is all too common to hear†complaints about†the lack of skilled workers and innovative thinkers in the U.S., yet when our educators and school support staff are routinely undervalued and made to work in increasingly difficult situations while administrators are overcompensated, it should be no surprise that the country†faces†challenges.

The fact that it was somehow seen as necessary to slam one of these educators to the ground and arrest her takes this attitude to another, far more disturbing level.

Take Action!

A Care2 user has created a petition seeking to have Hargrave’s charges dismissed. If you want to stand with Hargrave please add your name and share!

Photo Credit: Celia Ortega/Unsplash

47 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

thanks

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Leanne K
Leanne K6 months ago

Very disturbing on too many levels

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Leanne K
Leanne K6 months ago

Thats outrageous

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Brian F
Brian F6 months ago

This just proves that the police can arrest, beat or kill anyone at anytime, and get away with it. This women was lucky she is still alive. Sandra Bland wasn't so lucky. The police are just the paid thugs who protect the 1%.

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Danii P
Past Member 6 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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S M
S M6 months ago

Policeman and one must assume the Board, as they did not stop the police action, felt intimidated by her brain and argument of which they not able to match. I think Hargrave should be head of Education with that ability to analyse and present.

I wonder how that policeman acts with female relations if he feels so threatened by a woman standing still, not gesticulating, moderated voice, talking intelligently, .....

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Ann B
Ann B6 months ago

this is absurd..BUT the biggies ALWAYS get the big bucks and the board members too no surprise

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Lesa D
Lesa D6 months ago

arrested for asking a question??? seriously??? asking questions is considered intimidation??? really???
#40398 petition signed...

thank you Llowell...

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Thomas M
Thomas M6 months ago

Signed. Thank you.

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HEIKKI R
HEIKKI R6 months ago

thank you

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