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Vermilion Parish residents react to international media attentio - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Vermilion Parish residents react to international media attention

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VERMILION PARISH, La. -

The world is focusing on Vermillion Parish and keeping up with how the story will play out.

Rene Rost Middle School Teacher Deyshia Hargrave was arrested at a Vermillion Parish School Board meeting on Monday after raising questions, asking why the system’s superintendent was getting a major raise while school conditions have decreased and teachers' salaries remain stagnant.

A law enforcement officer briefly escorted her out to the hall and put her in handcuffs.

Coverage of the incident has appeared on major international media outlets, such as CNN, The Talk, the U.K.’s Daily Mail, Russian Television (RT), and more.

The media has been asking whether the arrest was a civil liberties violation or focusing on it through the lens of gender inequality.

Vermillion Parish leather worker Alexandra Warren says the international media attention is great if it means sparking change regardless of opinion.

"If we let this go unnoticed in small areas, you know, there's no room for progress. You don't have to be in a metropolitan area to think progressively," explained Warren.

Kenneth Meaux, who used to work in TV news, said he was shocked to see Vermillion Parish on ABC World News Tonight.

"Wow! We made the world news! Because, usually this small town of Kaplan is usually not on the world news, and we made it! For good or bad, we're on the world news. I think the coverage is good because it brings attention to this teaching problem, which I haven't kept too abreast of, but we should all be attuned to it," said Meaux.  

Adrienne Trahan says she’s glad to see international media acknowledging that the same problems that exist in big cities also happen in small towns. She says police misconduct and brutality happens in areas like Vermilion Parish, too.

"Too much force. I mean, I understand he did ask her a few times to leave, but it didn't have to be like that. I mean, she is a teacher; she's a nice lady; I know her. Like I said, we can't tell if she was pushed or she fell, but it did seem a little excessive to me," explained Trahan.

Wade Istre says he cares the most about the children and hopes the school board’s newfound attention will bring better education for future generations.

"The media attention will bring it to the legislature in Baton Rouge, and maybe laws will be changed. Maybe things that were neglected will be looked at. Teachers haven't had a raise in ten years, and they work hard," asserted Istre.

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