Teacher arrested for speaking against supt. contract and raise.

What you see in the featured photo at the top of this blog is a teacher in Vermilion Parish being arrested at a special meeting called by the Vermilion Parish School Board to present, discuss and vote on a contract renewal for Superintendent Jerome Puyau. For just under two years, Supt. Puyau has been employed without a contract. At the time that his contract expired, for whatever reason, the board was unable to reach a consensus on the contents of the contract.

The Vermilion Parish School Board is comprised of eight members. For the better part of two years, four members were in favor of renewing Puyau’s contract and four were against. On November 20th of last year, one of the board members against the contract renewal, Luddy Herpin, passed away. The board president, Anthony Fontana, took advantage of the situation and brought an interim member who would support the contract before the board for approval to fill the seat until an election can be held. The appointment passed with a 4/3 vote.

On January 8, 2018, the board held a special meeting to vote on the contract renewal and provide Puyau with a $38,000 raise. The teachers of Vermilion Parish filled the room in opposition. The teachers of this parish have not received a raise in ten years. Puyau was hired as superintendent in 2012; however, the district has maintained a rating of B,or above, since the inception of the school grading system.

One of the teachers present, Deyshia Hargrave, was given permission to speak to the board on the issue. After she finished speaking, she sat down. Chatter and protests could be heard among the board members and the attendees. At some point, President Fontana addresses Hargrave, who is seated to his right, directly. She stands to respond. Fontana is distracted by the increased chatter to his left and comments to the effect that things are getting out of hand. At that exact moment, the City Marshall officer on duty enters the room. Seeing Hargrave standing and speaking, he approaches her and asks her to leave. In disbelief that she is being asked to leave while responding to a question directed at her, Hargrave initially resists. After realizing what is going on, she walks out of the room, and into the hallway, with the officer where he pushes her to the floor and handcuffs her.

Meanwhile, this publicly elected board sits quietly and allows this to happen not only to a taxpaying citizen engaged in a public meeting, but a teacher employed in their district who is calmly explaining why the raise is opposed.


32 thoughts on “Teacher arrested for speaking against supt. contract and raise.”

    1. http://fox13now.com/2017/08/31/utah-nurse-releases-videos-says-she-was-unlawfully-arrested-and-assaulted-by-slc-police/
      As a former teacher, I am absolutely appalled @ the treatment of Ms. Hargrave. I hope the ACLU has a picnic with this case. I have a new heroine.
      I am posting a link to a recent event in Salt Lake City when a nurse was arrested for doing her job.
      They’re arresting nurses, teachers, anyone speaking back to power.
      Hopefully, the 99%, We, the People, can unite and push back against this fascist behavior.

  1. Superintendent needs to GO! And so does everyone that approved his big raise with new car. Teachers and staff needs to stand up for Ms. Hargrave. After all she stood up for them. They need to go on strike until Super Man wanna be is out. Residents of Vermilion Parish don’t forget who to vote out at the next election. Mr. Big and Bad Boy I hope she press charges on you for throwing her to the floor then sues you. Next time you want to throw a woman down you might think twice.

  2. I don’t see where she did anything wrong. The officer should be suspended without pay and have to take a class on what is against the law. She was not public intimidating anyone, she had a right to voice her opinion.

    1. If anything she was intimated by the officer and the school board for speaking the truth and that’s hard for me to say given I am marriedbto a cop, but I can understand asking what’s going then going forward but he just jumps to arrest her without even knowing a situation when he was in the hallway and didn’t see anything.

    2. Why didn’t School Board Members object to her being arrested? She is a teacher in their school system. This is very unsettling! Teachers are the reason we can read, write and comprehend issues. A $38,000 pay raise is given to an administrator while teachers haven’t received an increase in 10 years..My comprehension surmises there is a BIG PROBLEM with those elected School Board Members!!!

  3. Absurd that this lady was manhandled by the deputy. She did not disrupt this meeting. She was being spoken to and was replying. And then pushed down for asking the deputy a question. Fire him and I hope she filed charges against the deputy for his actions. Unbelievable.

  4. She was directed to stop by the policeman. Regardless of the reason why she was speaking she should have followed his direction. HOWEVER, throwing her down on the floor was Unnecessary. He needs to be reprimanded. The school board should issue apologies to this teacher and ALL teachers in the parish and the people of the parish should push to elect new members of the board. I’m proud of these teachers.

    1. The police do not have the authority to direct anyone to stop speaking at a public meeting, especially when she was recognized by the School Board and especially when she was being neither abusive or impolite. She was well within her rights to speak; the officer overstepped his authority.

  5. I hope this teacher sues the hell out them. What teachers have to go thru is bad enough. That board is corrupt, sounds like every thing in that Parrish is.

  6. I would hope that the teachers union, if they have one, would initiate a lawsuit against the board the superintendent and the officer. I will definitely help hire an attorney to sue the lot of them.

  7. The Vermilion Parish School Board along with Supt. Payau need to personally and publicly apologize to this teacher. BESE must speak out against this. Open Meetings Law was broken. This teacher was arrested without her Miranda Rights being Read and without her opportunity to speak to a lawyer or call her husband. The policeman used excessive force and did not inform the teacher as to why she was being detained in handcuffs and arrested.

    This is a sad day for the State of LOUISIANA and public education. Had this teacher not shown the restraint she did it would most certainly have escalated to some action much worse by the policeman. Who was it in Administration it the school board who directed this policeman to remove the teacher?

  8. This was nothing more then being bullied by the Board. This teacher had the right to speak and was recognized to speak. They just didn’t like what she had to say
    Hire a lawyer immediately and make them spend that raise.

  9. Wow. Unbelievable. I see a lawsuit in their future. This woman followed protocol. This is against not only our right to free speech, but hauling her out in handcuffs? Really? Everyone in there was agreeing with her. As they should have. The teachers are the ones struggling with over filled classrooms. Standardized testing. Not to mention the issues they must deal with their students and their student’s parents. I applaud her for her calmness and her courage. Sounds as if there might be deeper issues with this superintendent and the entire board.

    I just wish everyone that was nodding their heads had taken a stand too. Can’t put everyone in handcuffs…

  10. Can’t the Louisiana state board of education do something about this local board of education? Something is very wrong in that school district and needs investigating.

  11. Way is it he didn’t do anything to her when he knew he was on camera just when there was no cameras on did he do something to her what a big baby he is

    1. I hope you are being sarcastic!?!? If not, you have NO idea of what it is like to be a teacher on a low pay scale with no raise in 10 years, increased insurance premiums and cost of living as well as the loss of an incentive check referred to as the 13 th check because our parish was low on funds! Yes, I am proud to be a member of the teaching profession in Vermilion Parish ( where this unfortunate event took place) with excellent educators such as the teacher in this situation!

  12. This is a clear POWER TRIP by the cop and VPSB. The VPSB claims there is no money for anything then gives someone that is not doing a great job,and already making 110,000 a year a raise of 38,000 and a vehicle. Greed and power that is how this parish runs. Where is the accountability? Then they just sit there and let this so called cop do this to this woman on his own. Who on the board instructed him to remove her? The VPSB and this punk a$$ cop are a bunch of little BITCHE$! I an sure change is coming!

  13. Too sad. As a teacher, we seem to have to give up our freedom of speech in too many ways. There probably is no teacher’s union to back this poor woman. Professional teacher groups do not have the same powers as a traditional union. What a sham of a public meeting this was. I wonder what else this board will do to punish her? The superintendent’s $38,000 raise is probably what some of the teachers make in one year of teaching. How pathetic!

  14. The teacher is a member of the NEA/LAE/VAE and is receiving legal counsel. A lawyer is being provided as of yesterday evening.
    Vermilion is one of the few districts in Louisiana having collective bargaining.

  15. Wow. This is a disgrace. The teacher was doing nothing wrong, but very calmly but passionately (impressed by her poise!), raising a very common objection: In every field, administrators get raises and grow their little empires, while teachers, doctors, nurses, lab techs, laborers, etc. do all the work.

    But does anyone know what the background here is? Things in life are rarely as simple black & white as this case seems to be on first blush.

    Why was half the board (prior to the death) opposed to the contract? If the superintendent is to be believed, the new contract was going to bring his salary to the state average, which doesn’t sound that bad when seen in that way. Was the new superintendent trying unconventional strategies to increase the district grade and that’s what put him in the bad graces of half the board? Was he a victim of politics between the school board president and another faction on the board/teachers? Or is this case as cut-and-dried as it seems?

    Thanks.

    1. I have never heard this Superintendent (Puyau) publicly praise his staff or the teachers under his guidance. Never refers to “we” has a serious case of “I-itis”. The success Vermilion parish is experiencing is due to a hard working staff that works with the classroom teachers. Their collaborative effort deserve some compensation, teachers are tired of Puyau’s receiving undeserved accolades.

  16. I am so glad I am not from your parish! Mr Superintendent, you are a shame to your school district! School Board members, you also are an embarrassment to your parish! Mr Officer, how unprofessional! Mr Superintendent, how in good conscience could you even consider the offer knowing those beneath you have not been given a cost of living pay increase! This shows how little you value those “beneath” you. Teachers do not get what they are worth and they spend much of their own money to help with their supplies. School Board members, you are a bunch of weak people who are too scared to say no! You tend to have forgotten who voted for you and put their trust in you to make the right decisions for all involved. I sure hope everyone stands up for this teacher that was wrongfully handled. I commend this teacher for standing up saying what most others were probably too scared to do.

  17. Thank you for posting the entire video.. the local news is posting only the short version that does not show the entire event. This is blatant use of police force to intimidate and bully the public. Don’t speak against us or you will be assaulted and arrested. There needs to be an immediate crack down on not only this board but every other that sets arbitrary rules to prevent the public from utilizing their voice.. all of these meetings need to be on video which is publicly available. If people had not taken it upon themselves to video we would never have had the actual facts. The board does not own us, our taxes to use however they see fit, or our children.. whether they think they do or not. The power trips need to end now.

  18. The Louisiana association of educators has released a statement condemning this action, unfortunately I only have a photo and I cannot post it here.

  19. Sad thing is This kind of thing is happening in all aspects of our Government. Most of the time it is happening without any accountability. This is why every time we go to vote they are trying to sneak some tax increase through. These officials believe they deserve more and more at the expense of the tax payers. At the same time all of the governing bodies are patting each others backs to get their agendas pushed through. Meanwhile, the lower level employees are working their asses off for the least amount of compensation. That being what it may we have to get things done publicly as efficient as possible. I just cant see these big wigs being allowed to have any say so in their own salary and its increases. This problem we call Louisiana Politics needs a serious overhaul! Finally I will say this If they are dropping charges seems to me that they are admitting her arrest was not justified so,that being what it is who is accountable for this Woman’s mistreatment and humiliation. As far as I see it she was arrested and publicly humiliated for asking a legitimate question at a public meeting about a subject pertaining to the contract being discussed and voted upon. If she was not supposed to discuss this matter then when was something to be said? I am very disturbed over this and hope she gets the justice I truly believe is coming to her.

  20. I cannot believe the police officer thinking of his off duty job instead of doing what was right.I will be praying for his family

  21. I do believe this is called false arrest and the school board had it planned.
    I would say it’s time that she gets a hold of her union rep and do it quickly. I would also contact a lawyer that handles, police misconduct cases.
    Praying for these teacher’s.

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