Gov. John Bel Edwards went out of his way on his call-in radio show Wednesday (Jan. 10) to say he did not approve of the way a teacher who was arrested after being thrown out of a Vermilion Parish School Board Monday night was treated.
“I know there is going to be an investigation, but that was terribly unfortunate,” Edwards said. “It should not have happened and it cast a negative light on our state and, you know, it’s very regrettable.”
The governor said his wife Donna, who taught music in public schools before he was elected, brought up the incident to him Tuesday night. A local news station’s video of the arrest of Deyshia Hargrave after she complained about the local school superintendent’s compensation at the school board meeting has gone viral and gained national attention.
“She let me know how personally offended she was by how that played out, and certainly it was unfortunate,” Edwards said of his wife Wednesday. “I didn’t see anything that warranted that type of action.”
Hargrave, a middle school English teacher, questioned why the school board was going to vote to give the local superintendent a raise in pay when faculty and support staff haven’t received bumps in compensation in several years. After making those comments, she was ejected from the meeting.
Moments later, video captured Hargrave on the ground in the hallway outside the meeting with a law enforcement officer standing over her. The officer pulled Hargrave to her feet and said: “Stop resisting.”
“I am not, you just pushed me to the floor,” Hargrave responded as she was escorted, hands behind her back, out of the building by the officer. “Sir! Hold on! I am way smaller than you,” she said.
On Wednesday, Superintendent Jerome Puyau told The Associated Press that he and his family had received death threats as a result of the video showing Hargrave’s arrest. The school system offices also went into temporary lockdown because of threats.
The officer arrested Hargrave on charges of “remaining after being forbidden” and resisting an officer, but she bonded out of the Abbeville jail once her mug shot was taken, and Ike Funderburk, the prosecutor and city attorney in Abbeville, told KATC television station in Lafayette that she won’t be prosecuted.
“When I watched that video last night, it reminds me of, you know, the teachers classrooms are getting more and more students,” said Donna Edwards, the governor’s wife, on his radio show Wednesday. People are not going into the profession because “for so many years, they’ve been put down on,” Donna Edwards said.
“They do amazing work every single day in the classroom and we really need to do a better job of promoting them in our communities and lifting them up,” Donna Edwards said.