Teacher handcuffed and booked into jail after asking questions at board meeting

VERMILION PARISH, LA (KATC) – No charges will be filed against a Vermilion Parish teacher who was arrested at a school board meeting last night.

Ike Funderburk, Abbeville’s city attorney and prosecutor, said he has reviewed the video and won’t be prosecuting her.

“I have reviewed the video and I am not going to approve any charges against the teacher,” Funderburk said. “I talked with the attorney for the school board, and they do not wish to pursue any charges against the teacher.”

Funderburk also said the marshal who arrested her is a school resource officer who is employed by the school board and he “was not acting in any official capacity on behalf of the city of Abbeville.”

The teacher was booked into jail last night, even though the superintendent told KATC shortly after the meeting that he had called to inform police that the system didn’t want any charges pressed.

Records indicate Deyshia Hargrave was booked into the city jail with remaining after being forbidden and resisting an officer. The cooperation of the school system would not be required to arrest her on either of those charges; the officer could arrest her on his complaint.

Superintendent Jerome Puyau told KATC Monday night that he called to ensure that police knew the system was not pressing charges against Hargrave, but she was booked anyway, records show. She has since bonded out. City Prosecutor Ike Funderburk told KATC that the School System officials had called him this morning to reiterate that the system wasn’t interested in pursuing charges.

Hargrave, an English language arts teacher at Rene Rost Middle Schools, addressed the board during the public comments portion of the meeting to discuss teacher salaries and pay raises.  After Hargrave posed several questions, board president Anthony Fontana ruled Hargrave out of order, warning her that the public comment section was not for a question-and-answer session.

Hargrave was called upon a second time for comment.  After posing another question, an Abbeville city marshal on duty at the meeting escorted Hargrave out of the meeting. Handcuffs were later placed on Hargrave in the hallway, as she was removed from the building.

In an interview Tuesday, Vermilion Parish School Board President Anthony Fontana stated that he supports the deputy marshal’s decision to remove the teacher from last night’s school board meeting.

The deputy marshal is a school resource officer who works in Vermilion Parish schools. The Abbeville Police Department has received so many calls about the case they issued a statement pointing out that it has nothing to do with them:

In response to the numerous requests for the teacher’s booking information, the Abbeville Police Department is cooperating as directed by law. The Abbeville Police Department did not arrest the teacher.  Due to the location of her arrest and the arresting agency’s jurisdiction, which includes the city limits of Abbeville, she was booked in and bonded from the local police department. The Abbeville Police Department has received numerous emails and phone calls about the arrest but all questions concerning this incident should be made to the Vermilion Parish School Board.

The Louisiana Association of Educators who is representing Hargrave released the following statement on the incident denouncing the treatment Hargrave experienced.

As an organization that advocates for the dedicated school employees of Louisiana, we firmly denounce the mistreatment of Ms. Hargrave, a loving parent and dedicated teacher serving the students of Vermilion Parish. It is every citizen’s right to speak up for their beliefs. Any action that infringes upon this right is unlawful and unacceptable.

We will continue to support the right of every single school employee to take an interest in, and ultimately stand up for, the best interests of their schools and their students.

Aside from these remarks, our association will honor Ms. Hargrave’s wishes and refrain from any additional comments at this time, as the case is ongoing.

Below is the twitter message issued today expressing the same sentiments from LAE. Beyond these statements, LAE says they are refraining from making any further statements as the investigation continues.

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