Conner on Teacher Arrest at School Board Meeting: "I stand with those fighting to be respected by our public officials."

LAKE CHARLES, LA - On January 8, 2018, a special meeting of the Vermillion Parish School Board called to approve a pay raise for the Parish Superintendent ended in a bizarre turn of events and the arrest of a well-loved local teacher. Deyshia Hargrave, a Vermillion Parish teacher, addressed the Board in opposition to the $38,000 pay raise for the Superintendent, and returned to her seat after completing her public testimony. Later in the meeting she stood to address the board again. When asked to leave the meeting by a city marshal, she complied. After she was already outside the room, video posted to the internet shows she was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. After viewing footage of the debate and its aftermath, Dr. Phillip Conner, Louisiana third congressional district candidate, was disgusted.

"Teachers like Deyshia are fighting for our kids' success every day. It's telling that in her quest to shed light on how taxpayer money - money meant for our kids -  is really being spent, Deyshia was literally pushed to the ground and silenced. All our public servants and working families deserve respect, and they deserve to be heard. That's what these kinds of public meetings are for," said Conner. "Frankly, I'm disgusted. We deserve better and I stand with those fighting to be respected by our public officials." 

In a November 2017 vote, the school board rejected a similar proposal to give the Superintendent a raise. Since that time, a dissenting member of the Board passed away. The vote on Monday was approved by a count of 4-3. According to their own testimony, teachers in Vermillion Parish have not received a pay raise in ten years. Public school board meetings are subject to all Louisiana laws governing public meetings. 

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Ira Wray