A school board in Louisiana went on lockdown after receiving worldwide death threats in response to viral video showing a screaming teacher being handcuffed and forcibly removed from a school board meeting.
That teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, was handcuffed and detained by local police after she publicly commented on school district pay policies during a public comment period.
Hargrave’s critical comments concerned a proposed raise for Superintendent Jerome Puyau–at the expense of teachers and other school district employees who haven’t received raises in years.
In the video, Hargrave, who teaches middle-school English, can be seen making school board members uncomfortable with her commentary and questions during the period reserved for questions and public comment.
Eventually, she’s silenced by Vermilion Parish School Board President Anthony Fontana, who fails to connect the dots between budgeting a large raise for the school district’s superintendent and stagnant wages for other employees.
After the crowd becomes thoroughly incensed by Fontana’s heavy-handed reaction, Hargrave complies with a city marshal’s request to leave the meeting. Then, suddenly, she can be seen on the hallway floor, screaming in terror as the marshal handcuffs her, shoves her down, and pushes her out of the building.
Fontana today claimed the death threats came from locales as exotic as South America, England, and Australia. He also said they had been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local authorities.
In comments to The Advertiser, Fontana praised the marshal who removed Hargrave, saying, “His job is to make sure we have an orderly meeting. He knows what the law is. He knows what our policy is…The officer did exactly what he is supposed to do.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) of Louisiana condemned Hargrave’s treatment. The civil liberties organization is looking into the situation and issued a statement which reads:
Deyshia Hargrave’s expulsion from a public meeting and subsequent arrest are unacceptable and raise serious constitutional concerns. The Constitution prohibits the government from punishing or retaliating against people for expressing their views, and the fact that a schoolteacher was arrested at a public meeting of the school board is especially troubling. The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to investigate this incident and defend the constitutional rights of all Louisianans. We urge anyone whose rights have been violated to contact us.
[image via screengrab]