Louisiana teacher arrested after questioning pay raises at school board meeting

Adjust Comment Print

A Louisiana teacher was violently arrested at a public school board meeting Monday night after she questioned her superintendent for giving himself a raise when teachers and administrators were made to go without.

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".

"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, and any other support staff we have", Ms Hargrave noted. Board President Anthony Fontana ruled that she was out of order and warned her that she could not ask questions during that portion of the meeting. Though, after the first time she was called upon, board members did answer some of her questions.

But once a city marshal got her out into a hallway, he started roughing her up as he slapped on the silver bracelets.

When the officer told her to "stop resisting", she responded: "I am not, you just pushed me to the floor.I am way smaller than you". 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. She was later released on bond.

Mr Payou's contract was extended for three years by the board during that meeting and includes incentives for performance.

Hargrave was placed in handcuffs before she was escorted from the building. The Abbeville Marshals Office have not returned phone calls seeking comment.

While she was being recognized by the superintendent, an Abbeville city marshal approached her and asked her to leave.

On Tuesday morning, Hargrave's Facebook page was filled with supportive comments, some thanking her for taking a stand.

The station also reported that it is unclear whether the marshal acted on his own volition or was instructed to arrest Hargrave by a school board member.