Arrest of Louisiana teacher at school board meeting gains national attention, reaction

Arrest of Louisiana teacher at school board meeting gains national attention, reaction
Deyshia Hargrave

ABBEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - The arrest of a Vermilion Parish middle school teacher after she spoke out against the superintendent Monday night has garnered national attention.

Deyshia Hargrave, an English teacher at Rene Rost Middle School in Kaplan, was placed in handcuffs after asking questions during a public comment period of the Vermilion Parish School Board Meeting.

Hargrave had spoken out against Superintendent Jerome Puyau receiving a pay increase in his new contract extension that was approved by the board Monday night.

RELATED: Teacher removed, arrested after speaking out at Vermilion Parish school board meeting

The teacher was ruled "out of order" by school board president Anthony Fontana for asking questions during a public comment period. Hargrave was instructed the public comment period was not a question and answer session. She was arrested after being removed from the meeting and booked into the local police department. Hargrave was released on bond the same night.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards commented on the incident on the Louisiana Radio Network Wednesday.

"When I watched that video last night it reminds me of – the teachers' classrooms are getting more and more students placed in them because of so many people not going into the profession. Because for so many years they have been put down on and just the profession itself. But teachers do amazing work every single day in the classroom and we really need to do a better job in promoting them in our communities and lifting them up and encouraging them in their walk as educators because it's our educators who they're teaching them to be the professionals that we all meet in our everyday life. So we need to do a better job in really promoting the educators in our state," First Lady Edwards said.
"I think sometimes we confer the label hero on people because they're famous or maybe they can run fast, but people who really are our heroes are folks who are in law enforcement, folks who serve in our armed forces and our teachers. And we just need to recognize them as being professionals and that teaching is a profession and treat them accordingly. I think if we will do that we will be much better off. And one of the things that concerns me is we have now for the first time – maybe ever – you have people who are teaching who are not recommending that their children become teachers. Typically teaching runs in families and I see so many times where that's not necessarily happening and we got to fix the situation so we can continue to attract top-quality teachers," Gov. Edwards added.

The story was picked up by national media outlets including CBS News, FOX News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo, Buzzfeed, and many others.

People across the country reacted on social media after watching the dramatic video. Most were in support of Hargrave.

High-profile figures like actress Ashley Judd and CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud shared the story Monday afternoon.

The story also got the attention of civic organizations, as well as the teacher's association Hargrave is a part of.

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