Last year, United Airlines. This year, the Vermilion Parish School Board.
Not since last April, when the video of a paying passenger being dragged off an overbooked plane went viral, has the horrid treatment of a regular person doing no harm caused as much of a ruckus as teacher Deyshia Hargrave's plight. Hargrave's offense was to show up at a Monday school board meeting and angrily but reasonably challenge the fairness of giving Superintendent Jerome Puyau a $30,000 raise in his new contract when teachers are facing larger class sizes without additional compensation — all after being recognized to speak. Her punishment was to be handcuffed and arrested, but ultimately not charged,
Condemnation of the board and the Abbeville deputy city marshal who removed Hargrave was swift, visceral, and almost universal. The video has been viewed millions of times and has made the network news. Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna, a fellow teacher by trade, expressed dismay. The Louisiana Association of Educators scheduled a rally on Hargrave's behalf. And while board president Anthony Fontana defended her removal, arguing that she spoke beyond her time limit and was off-topic, several other board members decried Hargrave's treatment.
Can't see video below? Click here.
And it's understandable why. Like the pictures of that screaming doctor being dragged down a narrow airplane aisle, this came off not as an isolated incident but a sign of the times, the logical conclusion of a trend that everyone who retweeted the story recognizes.
Yes, you can buy an airline ticket in good faith, with the expectation that your purchase will get you where you need to go if the plane is able to take off, and still be violently ejected.
Yes, you can show up to a meeting of elected officials, be duly recognized, speak pointedly but not abusively, leave when you're asked and still wind up in handcuffs.
Yes, government at all levels can and regularly does show as much disregard for the people it's supposed to serve as the airline industry does, which is really saying something.
Yes, it really has come to this.
The Vermilion Parish teacher who was arrested after she spoke out about teacher pay at a school board meeting says she hopes the ordeal prompt…
How else to explain the angry response from people around the country who've likely never heard of Vermilion Parish and sure couldn't locate it on a map, who have no stake in whether a particular high-ranking official at a particular school district gets a raise while teachers who face growing professional demands are expected to simply do more with less?
You see it in Washington and in state capitols, where politicians push through policies that are distinctly unpopular with voters yet please major donors. You saw it in the 2016 presidential election, when voters on the left and right flocked to candidates who channeled their sense that the economy is rigged for the powerful while regular people can't catch a break.
And you see it at the local level, where something like this can happen, and likely would have happened without much consequence if someone hadn't whipped out a smartphone and recorded it.
There's more to the story, of course. One scary thread is that the deputy marshal who arrested Hargrave has been accused in a previous incident of using excessive force against a 62-year-old man with health issues. Another is that the school board has received death threats, which is another terrifying sign of the times. And there are obviously underlying issues the district needs to address, beyond how events unfolded Monday night.
At the controversy's heart, though, is a clearly widespread sense that lots of people have had enough. And that in this country, they still get to say so out loud.
The arrest of a teacher who had just been kicked out of a Vermilion Parish School Board meeting Monday after criticizing a vote to give the su…