By KEVIN McGILL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A Louisiana school board’s office went on temporary lockdown after getting death threats from around the world in response to widely viewed video of a teacher screaming while being handcuffed at a school board meeting.
The threats have come from as far away as South America, Australia and England, as well as other U.S. states, Vermilion Parish School Board President Anthony Fontana told The Advertiser newspaper Tuesday. He said they’ve been reported to the FBI and local police.
Middle-school English teacher Deyshia Hargrave was removed from Monday night’s meeting, forcibly handcuffed and jailed after questioning pay policies during a public comment period. The teacher’s union and the ACLU are investigating and two board members are complaining that the board treats women unfairly.
A video posted by KATC-TV shows Hargrave complying with a city marshal’s orders to leave the Vermilion Parish School Board meeting in Abbeville, west of New Orleans. Next, she is seen on the hallway floor, screaming as the marshal handcuffs her hands behind her back.
“Stop resisting,” the marshal says, hustling Hargrave toward an exit after lifting her to her feet.
“I am not, you just pushed me to the floor,” Hargrave responds.
Hargrave later bonded out of the Abbeville jail on charges of “remaining after being forbidden” and resisting an officer, according to KATC.
Ike Funderburk, the prosecutor and city attorney in Abbeville, later told the station Hargrave won’t be prosecuted. The school system superintendent had earlier said the system would not seek to have her prosecuted.
The station reported that Fontana had ruled Hargrave out of order for asking questions during a time reserved for public comment. Later in the same meeting, she spoke again in response to a question from the board and was confronted by the marshal despite objections from the audience. “She was recognized!” several people said.
“This is the most disgraceful and distasteful thing I have ever seen,” another audience member said as Hargrave made her way out.
Women have several times been told to leave meetings, while men who speak out have not been removed, board member Laura LeBeouf told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday.