The Vermilion Parish school teacher who gained worldwide attention after she was arrested at a school board meeting has issued a video making a statement.
"My voice was silenced during audience concerns for the superintendent," Hargrave says in a video posted by the Louisiana Association of Educators. "They tried to take away my first amendment rights to speak. I'm appalled at this and you should be too. I was always taught that what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong and when you see something you should say something."
Hargrave says she chose to say something, and she wants others to use her experience as "your strength."
"I'm hoping that you chose to speak out after seeing what happened to me, and you don't let it become an intimidation to you. Let it be your strength, because it's becoming mine," she said.
Hargrave said her students, friends and colleagues were concerned about her, and were grateful to her for speaking up. She thanked everyone who supported her by wearing black, making social media posts, or reaching out to her.
"Please don't let the conversation end with me. Go to your local school board meetings. Speak out, be vocal," she said.
Here's the full video:
Earlier today, Hargrave's attorney said she is considering her next steps, her attorney said today.
Deyshia Hargrave, a language arts teacher at a Kaplan middle school, was arrested at Monday's board meeting and booked with remaining after being forbidden and resisting arrest. The city prosecutor told KATC yesterday that no charges would be pursued against her, based on his viewing of our video of the incident as well as his discussions with board officials. The night of the incident, the superintendent told KATC the school system would not be pressing any charges against Hargrave.
On Wednesday, Hargrave's attorney, Brian Blackwell, said he hadn't spoken with the prosecutor, Ike Funderburk, yet.
"I haven't talked to Ike. I'm going to talk to him today to get him to send me something, so we can close that aspect of this out," Blackwell said.
Hargrave has received an overwhelming number of requests for interviews, he said. The Louisiana Association of Educators, the state's largest teacher union, is handling those requests, he said. LAE also provided Blackwell to represent her.
Blackwell said he met with Hargrave yesterday.
"She's waiting to see what her next steps are going to be," he said. "There hasn't been any kind of final decision yet."
The national and state teacher's unions, NEA and LEA, are hosting a rally for her tomorrow. It starts at 3:45 p.m. in Magdalene Square in downtown Abbeville.
LAE President Debbie Meaux and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García released the following joint statement regarding Hargrave's arrest:
“As educators, students are at the center of everything we do and the voices of educators are essential to ensuring a great education for every child regardless of ZIP code. The arrest of middle school educator and LAE and NEA member Deyshia Hargrave is a chilling infringement on her rights but educators will not be silenced. We encourage all educators to wear black on Thursday, January 11th to stand in solidarity with Ms. Hargrave and the students of Vermilion Parish.”
Earlier today, our media partners at KPEL did an interview with Board President Anthony Fontana. Here's the interview if you'd like to listen: