VERMILION PARISH, La. (NBC News) — Deyshia Hargrave, a Louisiana middle school teacher is speaking out after she was forcibly removed from a school board meeting after questioning the superintendent about salaries.
The shocking arrest of Deyshia Hargrave has sparked outrage across the country.
On Wednesday, the Louisiana Association of Educators released Hargrave’s video statement.
Hargrave is calling on fellow educators to also speak out.
“Hi. I’m Deyshia Hargrave, I’m a middle school teacher in Vermilion Parish.
And I teach 5th and 6th grade ELA currently, English and Language Arts. I love my job. I just went back to work from Christmas break yesterday, and I attended a school board meeting where I planned to hear concerns or watch a vote take place about the superintendent’s contract. And my voice was silenced during audience concerns for the superintendent.
“By silencing my voice, they’ve also taken away or tried to take away my First Amendment rights to speak–and 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 it’s wrong even though it doesn’t involve you. This particular issue directly involved me, directly involved my students, my fellow educators, and support staff, cafeteria workers; citizens outside of the school system even.
“So, I chose to speak out. I’m hoping that you choose to speak out after seeing what happened to me. And you don’t let it become an intimidation to you; you let it be your strength because it’s slowly becoming mine.
“When I went back to school today, I saw that on my children’s faces and they had so much care and so much love and so much gratitude for what I did, and so did their parents, and I’d like to thank my community, my students, my fellow co-workers and educators. It was a huge deal that you not only messaged me, you wore black in support of me, you shared things on social media, you got vocal and that is the most important thing.
“So, please don’t let the conversation end with me, please go to your local school board meetings, speak out, be vocal. I continued to spread the word across our state, across our country, in any way I can to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else.
“And I can’t do it alone, so just join me and doing that. Use your First Amendment right, exercise your rights to gather to speak, a lot of people who came before you worked really hard to ensure that that was there for you.”
No charges will be filed against Hargrave.