Dragged away after voicing her opinions, Deyshia Hargrave, middle school English teacher in Vermillion Parish, was removed from a school board meeting Monday night. She was handcuffed after officials say she went beyond her allotted three minutes to speak. Hargrave says she was standing up and questioning the pay raise for her superintendent.
"A superintendent or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise, I feel like is a slap in the face to all of the teachers," Hargrave said at the meeting.
A slap in the face because teachers in her area, Hargrave says, have not gotten a raise in years.
In just two days, the video has gone viral. It's grabbed the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union and countless teachers across the country.
Kevin DeHart is a retired teacher, having taught in Terrebone and Jefferson Parish for 20 years. Eyewitness News showed him the video from the incident for the first time.
"The way they treated her at the school board was just awful," DeHart said.
DeHart says the last time he remembers teachers receiving a pay raise in Jefferson Parish was 10 years ago.
"I know teachers that have sometimes at least two jobs. Most teachers that I know have a second job. Especially if they're single 'cause they cannot live on what they're making now," DeHart said.
"From what I saw, she didn't do anything different than what we do here in Jefferson Parish," Johnson said.
Kathy Johnson is President of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers. Last year, she fought hard to get a millage passed to raise pay for teachers and employees in the Jefferson Parish School District. They lost by just 484 votes.
Just like DeHart, Johnson says she knows teachers who work hard and still live off food stamps. A pay raise for teachers not just in Jefferson Parish, but statewide, she believes, is long overdue.
"Teachers go to workshops. They go out to Stennis Space Center in the summer time when they're off to get ideas on how to enhance their classes and things and they do it out of their love for teaching.
Governor Edwards said that nothing he saw on the video of Hargrave warranted her arrest or rough treatment.
"It was terribly unfortunate what happened to Deyshia Hargrave in Vermilion Parish. We need to do a better job of promoting our teachers in our communities and encouraging them in their walk as educators. #lagov," Edwards said via Twitter on Wednesday.
Eyewitness News received a video statement from Hargrave.
"By silencing my voice, they've taken away or tried to take away my first amendment rights to speak. And I'm appalled at this and you should be to," Hargrave said.
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