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In this Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, image made from a video provided by KATC-TV middle-school English teacher Deyshia Hargrave is handcuffed by a city marshal after complying with a marshal’s orders to leave a Vermilion Parish School Board meeting in Abbeville, La., west of New Orleans.

ABBEVILLE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana teacher whose widely viewed arrest at a school board meeting sparked online outrage has returned to work even as fallout from the incident rages on.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said he saw nothing on videos of Deshia Hargrave’s arrest that warranted her rough treatment. Meanwhile, the superintendent of Vermilion Parish Schools said he, his staff and his family have received death threats.

Hargrave returned to the classroom Wednesday. The local prosecutor said he won’t pursue charges against Hargrave, who was appalled by her treatment and grateful for support from students, parents and others. A rally of support for the teacher was planned Thursday afternoon.

“By taking away my voice they’ve taken away — or tried to take away — my First Amendment rights to speak,” Hargrave said in a video posted on the Louisiana Association of Educators’ Facebook page. “Go to your local school board meetings,” Hargrave said. “Speak out. Be vocal.”

Edwards, who is married to a teacher and gets support from teacher unions, said he “didn’t see anything that warranted that type of action.”

Superintendent Jerome Puyau said the hate emails and phone calls began pouring in after videos spread.

“I’ve stopped reading them because they’re just so bad and disgusting,” Puyau said, at times struggling to compose himself in an interview with The Associated Press. He said the school system offices went into temporary lockdown, and his daughters had to delete threats on their social media.

The turmoil follows the board’s 5-3 vote Monday night approving a new 3-year contract raising Puyau’s salary by roughly $30,000, to about $140,000 annually, with incentive targets that could add 3 percent per year.

He said the raise matches what other school officials make in similar jobs.

Hargrave, a middle school English teacher, said she felt like she was representing all teachers in the parish by questioning the raise, at a time when teachers haven’t received an increase in 10 years, despite growing class sizes and other demands.

Video of the meeting shows that Hargrave addressed the superintendent directly after raising her hand to speak and being recognized. After a verbal exchange, school board member Kibbie Pillette said Fontana beckoned to a school resource officer hired by the board, who confronted Hargrave, ordering her to get her things and go.

“I’m going,” she said, making her way out. Moments later — after briefly leaving the view of any cameras — she was on the hallway floor with her hands behind her back, being handcuffed and complaining that the officer was hurting her.

“Stop resisting,” the marshal said, lifting Hargrave to her feet.

“I am not, you just pushed me to the floor,” Hargrave said.

Puyau said he did not order Hargrave’s removal or arrest. While refusing to comment on details, Puyau made clear that he was unhappy with how things played out.

“It was not good in any way,” he said. “We are a good community. It took everybody by surprise. I’m having a hard time with this, but we care about our teachers and our support staff.”

Fontana did not return phone messages Wednesday.


McGill reported from New Orleans.




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15 thoughts on “Louisiana Teacher’s Arrest Generates Outrage, Death Threats

  1. Eric robins on said:

    Bet that black officer gets fired or strongly discipline and he will find out that he is not equal to his white counter parts

  2. leadjustone on said:

    I don’t know what the resource officer was thinking. Did he forget he was black? He man handled a white woman, taking her to the floor and hand cuffing her. No need for all of that. He was dead wrong, and I’m glad to see that there is consensus among everyone on this site, so far. Interesting that there is no response from the usual trolls who typically defend the cop and blame the victim, when the races are reversed. If the cop had been white and the victim black, would there have been the same level of community outrage? Or would we be hearing, “she should have complied, she was belligerent, she deserved it?

    • Where is the outrage for the 11 year old girl who had a gun shoved in her face, handcuffed, and arrested for doing nothing? Or the young black boy who got the crap beat out of him recently? Or the young lady that got her arm broke by a resource officer in a school last year? There was no outrage! Cops handle people of color like that all the time for nothing.

  3. I don’t blame the cop because he’s only doing his job, attend any kind of meeting and you will see a cop or some type of security there.
    Saw the superintendent this morning on television crying his eyes out stating about the threats he’s receiving from all over the world against his family.
    Goto Any meeting and you will always notice that they had a meeting before the meeting even our church house.
    Always one when you ask the important questions that’s hits a nerve and they try to shut the person down because everyone else whom attending doesn’t know that they’re about to be taken for a ride.LMAO

    • Tim Green on said:

      “He was only doing his job” … youre joking right?!? … A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER CANNOT USE PHYSICAL FORCE AGAINST SOMEONE THAT IS COMPLYING WITH THEIR REQUEST, this teacher left as she was requested to do, there was ZERO reason for him to tackle her & handcuff her, she broke NO LAWS … A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER CANNOT FOLLOW AN UNLAWFUL ORDER ie if the principal had directed him to arrest her just cause the principal felt like it, a law enforcement officer should not follow that order because its ILLEGAL & if he does he can & should be charged for false arrest/false imprisonment…

  4. Nestafan2 on said:

    What is it about having a gun and a badge that makes these cops lose their mind? It’s almost like they become sadistic and the more submissive the victim is, the more aggressive they become. He couldn’t wait for her to get belligerent, but since she didn’t he decided to tackle her anyway because the urge to strong arm a woman was just too strong.

  5. Tim Green on said:

    That school resource officer obviously has SERIOUS ISSUES, the teacher was asked to leave & she immediately complied, that should have been the end of it, but then she gets to the hallway & the officer pounces on her … SMFH, sounds like a blatant case of false arrest/false detention/ battery & a few other charges because he had no legal rational for even touching her in the first place

  6. No, they are upset that she reveal the truth about teachers not getting paid YET this new person is getting $30,000 raise. I would be upset as well.

  7. WTF????
    This teacher was merely expressing the TRUTH.
    She was challenging the school boards decision to give the school official a RAISE
    as the Louisiana school district children suffer due to lack of funding.

    What ever happened to FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
    Chump is was has happened!!!!!!

    There was NO need for the cops to intervene and to take this woman down like she was
    a f—g criminal.

    I hope she obtains an attorney and SUES the HELL out of the Louisiana school district!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Wow Linda, I had to read your post a couple of times, I thought my comprehensive skills had gone bad lol. You defending a white person? I was shocked to say the least lol.
      What’s right is right tho, and you got to be on the side of right. This teacher did not deserve this treatment for asking a question and she wasn’t belligerent in her manner. The person who ordered her out needs to be handled and needs to be reprimanded. This was ridiculous.

  8. African American Woman on said:

    WTF???!!! Has the world gone mad? A $30,000 raise and he doesn’t understand why his staff, whom actually work so he can make that kind of money, would be irate? I’m sure she addressed him in a coherent fashion…my language would have been way more colorful…what the hell did they arrest her for? Looks like she’ll come out the financial winner afterall.

    • Kenny B on said:

      It would be the righteous thing to happen (Come out ahead in the suit) This unfortunately is Louisiana, and from time to time (Much too often), people and situations can become topsy turvy. As the sign reads, when you live here, you can be….STATE OF LOUISIANA <<< (Pay attention to the first letter of each word)

    • I’ve never been to jail but from what I heard is that those security officer there treats the inmate with disrespect and if you ask him or her “why are you talking to me that way” they will tell you “miss or mr I’m just doing my job. Where you are employed don’t haven’t you told a coworker or a customer that?

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