School board president defends deputy marshal’s arrest of teacher

ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY)- It’s a video that has gone viral, not only across Acadiana, but across the globe.

A school teacher was forcibly removed from the Vermilion Parish School Board meeting Monday evening after she repeatedly questioned school board members and the Superintendent, who is set to receive a $30,000 raise among other incentives.

Now the Superintendent of the Vermilion Parish School Board is defending his salary increase, and the board President is saying that the deputy marshal acted justly.

During the meeting, Hargrave demanded a response from board members and the Superintendent on the reasoning for the pay increase, when teachers haven’t received a raise in years.

“It’s, I’m going to use the word absurd, that we’re even considering that we’re giving someone a raise, when these teachers are working this hard, and not even getting a dime,” Hargrave said during the public meeting.

In the video, Hargrave is asked to leave multiple times and continued to express her concerns.

That’s when the deputy marshal began to intervene, and Hargave was later escorted out in handcuffs.

Fontana says that Hargrave repeatedly refused to listen to the commands made by the deputy marshal, and kept interrupting the meeting.

He is now defending the marshal’s actions.

“She was interrupting the board meeting,” Fontana said. “She wouldn’t allow that to happen in a classroom, and now she’s going to pull that stunt. A board member was getting ready to speak when she cut into him. That’s when the officer acted. I think he acted properly.”

In a 5 to 3 vote, the school board passed the vote to increase Superintendent Jerome Puyau’s salary on Monday.

Puyau says the raise is justified, after five years of his salary being “frozen solid.”

“We have a district population close to 10,000 and my salary is one of the lowest in the Acadiana area and in the state of Louisiana,” Puyau told News 10. “It was time that we brought to the board a salary that’s commensurate with what superintendents are making.”

Ike Funderburk, the City Prosecutor in Abbeville, called the incident a school board issue, adding that he has no intentions to press charges against Hargrave.

“I’ve talked with the attorney for the school board, the school board does not wish to proceed with any criminal charges against the teacher,” Funderburk said. “And I as city prosecutor certainly am not going to press any charges on her.”

Deyshia Hargrave returned to work Tuesday after being removed from the school board meeting the night before in handcuffs.

News 10 was told she may be seeking legal advice at this time.

 

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