A Louisiana school board is getting inundated with death threats after a video showing the removal of a teacher complaining about a superintendent’s unfair raise went viral, highlighting the visceral response that the footage has generated on social media and beyond.
The meeting in question took place on Monday and saw Rene Rost Middle School Teacher Deyshia Hargrave press Vermilion Parish School Board President Anthony Fontana as to why superintendent Jerome Puyau should receive a raise, CBS News reported.
Hargrave argued that it was unnecessary for Puyau – who pulls in $110,000 per year and stands to receive $38,000 more while the average Louisiana teacher makes around $49,000 – to receive a raise when teachers’ salaries have stagnated over the last decade.
Instead of letting her make the public comment, though, an officer with the Abbeville City Marshal’s Office can be seen badgering Hargrave into keeping quiet before leading her into the hallway, pushing her against a wall, and handcuffing her.
The video swiftly sparked outrage on the Internet, where droves of commenters excoriated the officer for the harsh arrest and lamented the injustice of Vermilion Parish’s pay policies regarding teachers.
On Tuesday, the school board’s office went on temporary lockdown, with Fontana claiming that they had received death threats from across the world because of Hargrave’s treatment. The threats were reported to the FBI and local police.
Despite the firestorm of controversy, Puyau saw fit to justify his hefty pay increase.
“It was time that we brought to the board a salary that’s commensurate with what superintendents are making,” he said.
In a statement, the Louisiana Association of Educators union announced that it would provide a lawyer for Hargrave, who faced charges until they were dropped by the city prosecutor.
“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,” the statement said.