Only on 3: Deyshia Hargrave returns to Vermilion Parish School B - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Only on 3: Deyshia Hargrave returns to Vermilion Parish School Board for the first time since arrest

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Teacher Deyshia Hargrave still has people talking in Vermilion Parish.

On Tuesday night, school board members met for the first time since the events of the arrest. Hargrave, too, returned to the school board office on Tuesday night. To the same room where she was ruled out of order, removed, handcuffed, and arrested.

Since that night, Hargrave has made international headlines, the school board president has resigned, and Hargrave herself has become the face of a movement.

"It's the first time I'm back in the building since it happened and I'm having pretty high anxiety being around the people who caused it to happen to me. It was probably one of the most traumatic things that's ever happened to me," said the Rene A. Rost Middle School teacher, who has since returned to her classroom.

Now, she's hoping more people will take an interest in what happens at their local school board.

"Not just as a teacher, but as a citizen, this room should be open to the public. The public should feel comfortable here and there shouldn't be this amount of fear. Recently, they've installed these new cameras and these big new frames and before, that's not the way it went," said Hargrave. "They would have ignored your hand a few weeks ago."

On Tuesday, an overflowing crowd packed the Vermilion Parish School Board's committee meetings.

Hargrave and other teachers say they want transparency in the meetings, as well as the newfound public interest to continue.

As far as Superintendent Jerome Puyau's pay raise, the original reason Hargrave spoke up:

"It shouldn’t have happened. He shouldn’t have gotten the raise and we urge the public to please come Thursday [to the regular board meeting] so his contract and his raise can be rescinded," said Hargrave, who, along with other teachers, is hoping Puyau's raise can be reconsidered until there is an employee raise across the board.

"We just want teachers to not be afraid and if they have something to say. We're the ones fighting in the classrooms every day and educating those kids and they need to listen to us. What we have to say is very important," said Suzanne Breaux, the president of the Vermilion Association of Educators and a special education teacher at Herod Elementary School.

Hargrave is echoing those concerns, urging parents, educators and other citizens to continue their support and attendance.

"Do not stop coming to committee meetings. You need to get to know these people before they get on the board because once they're there, you can call all you want but they vote the way they vote," said Hargrave. "It's always going to be important, it shouldn't be just right now and you should not wait for someone to be arrested to be vocal or to not be scared to speak up."

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