Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Outrage over teacher's arrest leads to death threats for superintendent

Outrage over teacher's arrest leads to death threats for superintendent

"Speak out. Be vocal".

A United States teacher who was handcuffed and arrested after questioning her superior's pay rise at a public school board meeting has said she does not think the man who arrested should lose his job.

"It was not good in any way", he said.

"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. Puyau has since tearfully stated that he blames himself for this incident for not speaking up in Hargrave's defense at the time of her arrest.

Deyshia Hargrave was escorted out of the school by deputy city marshal Reggie Hilts after she contested a planned salary increase for the Louisiana school board member despite teachers not being given one in a decade. According to news site, "a survey of more than 1,800 public and private school teachers conducted in the 2015-16 school year" showed that the average American educator had to spend $600 of their own money in order to provide adequate school supplies for their students.

The issue has become so contentious that the Vermilion Parish school board office went on lockdown Tuesday, but dozens are still overwhelming the OH police department located roughly 1,100 miles north.

"We work very hard with very little to maintain the salaries we have", Hargrave added.

"I'm hoping for teachers, people outside of education, to have a voice", the middle school English teacher said Thursday on the "Today" show.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday he saw nothing on the videos that warranted her rough treatment. Criminal charges were not filed against Hilts or the other officer involved in the alleged incident, Leger said. Hargrave has said teachers haven't had a raise in years, according to KATC.

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Hargrave found herself in hot water during Monday's meeting when, during a public comment period, she questioned a new contract for Superintendent Jerome Puyau that reportedly gave him a $38,000 pay raise and a vehicle. In a tear-soaked interview with CBS News, the school leader had no shortage of regrets after he says they have been swamped with death threats from around the country.

Puyau, who said he began receiving hate mail and threatening phone calls as the video spread on the internet, wouldn't comment on who ordered the teacher's removal, but said he's not happy with how things played out.

Puyau said that the school system would not press charges.

"It's sad that a woman has to be forcibly, violently removed from a board meeting for people to start caring", she said on "Today" of the response to the video. She asked board members why they were raising the superintendent's pay - which was about $110,000 before the raise was approved at the meeting - when teachers had not received a raise for years. The officer followed her into the hallway, where moments later, a camera recorded her on the floor with her hands behind her back, being handcuffed and complaining that the officer had pushed her down. "She was not arrested for asking a question, straightforward", he said. "Show up. You don't have to say anything, just show up".

Puyau hasn't responded to HuffPost's repeated requests for comment.

Brian Blackwell, attorney for teachers' union, said Hargrave is considering legal action.

"It was not good in any way", he said.

She expressed gratitude for support from students and parents in Vermilion Parish - about 150 miles west of New Orleans. It took everybody by surprise.

This story has been corrected to show that Fontana's first name is Anthony and that he is the Vermilion Parish School Board president.

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