School Board Prez Calls Busted Teacher 'Poor Little Woman'
Cries of gender discrimination envelop incident at Louisiana school board meeting
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2018 9:20 AM CST
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This photo made available by the Abbeville City Jail in Louisiana shows Deyshia Hargrave under arrest Monday.   (Abbeville City Jail via AP)
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(Newser) – The story of the Louisiana middle school teacher arrested after speaking up at a school board meeting continues, now with a closer look at how women in the district are treated. When Deyshia Hargrave was carted off in handcuffs Monday after calmly questioning the $30,000 raise for Vermilion Parish School District Superintendent Jerome Puyau, Laura LeBeouf, one of the two female members of the school board, noted, "I have never seen a man removed from this room," per KATC. Critics of the school board point to footage of another recent board meeting, where a man made "an impassioned plea" about his recently deceased dad and wasn't removed as Hargrave was. Even celebrity host Sharon Osbourne backed up Hargrave on The Talk, noting: "She wasn't being violent. … They did that because she's a woman."

Stoking the fire are remarks made by school board president Anthony Fontana, who told WAFB Hargrave was "the poor little woman" whom "everybody wants to side [with]." "She could have walked out and nothing would have happened," he said. (In a video of the incident, Hargrave had indeed picked up her purse and walked out, only to be handcuffed in the hall.) Fontana also says Hargrave broke rules, including keeping her speech "civilized," and refuted any gender disparity, noting a board member's husband had once been banned. "All this stuff about this is a woman's issue is BS," he said. In a video posted on the Louisiana Association of Educators Facebook page, Hargrave says, "They … tried to take away my First Amendment rights to speak, and I'm appalled at this, and you should be, too." She tells NBC News that "it's sad that a woman has to be forcibly, violently removed from a board meeting for people to start caring."

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