A Teacher Takes a Stand

Alejandra Nogueira, Reporter

On Jan. 8, 2018, Louisiana English teacher Deyshia Hargrave was arrested after voicing her thoughts about an upcoming raise at a school board meeting. The meeting was a special session to vote on the renewal of Vermilion Parish Superintendent Jerome Puyau’s contract, which included a raise. During the public comment of the meeting, Hargrave spoke out against the apparent injustice.

“A superintendent or any person in a position of leadership getting any type of raise, I feel like it’s a slap to the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers, and any other support staff we have,” Hagrave stated.

According to CNN, the school board approved the superintendent’s raise from $110,190 to $140,188. It should be noted that the annual mean pay for secondary school teachers in Louisiana is only $49,470.

“I do not think the raise is right because if anything the teachers work harder than the superintendents. They have to teach kids, and it takes a lot of patience and dedication,” said sophomore Chester Lugo.

A city police marshal proceeded to come over and attempted to escort her out without a clear motive. At the time, it was not sure if he acted on his own volition or if he was directed by a school board member. She was then arrested with excessive force. The video of her arrest quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter.

City attorney Ike Funderburk stated that the school board will not prosecute Hangrave for resisting an officer or remaining after being prohibited, while Hangrave is contemplating to sue for a violation of her First Amendment right.

The violation of the First Amendment right is serious matters, as the injustice can occur to anyone, even students at TERRA.

“I do not think it is fair that she got arrested while utilizing her First Amendment right. They should not have done that,” junior Matthew Morris stated.

Hargrave’s case is just one of many injustices that occur in the education system and serves as a stepping stone into a brighter and better system.