Tuesday, January 9, 2018

School board members acting like petulant children

This is how democracy works in this country.

The Vermillion Parish school board met to determine whether to give the school superintendant a raise. Ms. Deyshia Hargrave had the nerve to question the school board as to why they were giving the superintendant a raise when teachers hadn't had a raise in years.

In the meantime class sizes have increased along with the duties of the teachers.

Instead of answering Ms. Hargrave's questions, the presiding officer of the school board decided to have her removed from the meeting. The officer, who showed himself to be nothing more than a lackey for the administration, roughed up Ms. Hargrave before arresting her on charges of remaining when forbidden and resisting arrest.

School board meetings are supposed to be open to the public. Members of the public in attendance have the right to ask questions and make comments during portions of meeting. Now I understand that many school board members would prefer to make their decisions in private where they are away from the glare of the light and can avoid taking responsibility. But that isn't how it's supposed to work.

The school board in Vermillion Parish - just like many school boards across this country - showed where their priorities were. It's a whole lot easier to raise the superintendant's salary that it is to explain to the public that taxes need to be raised to pay for school improvements and teacher salary increases.

But what happened in Vermillion Parish was uncalled for. Yes, board members who favored the pay increase - and the superintendant himself - certainly didn't want to be questioned about it. They expected everyone in attendance to just go along with the proposal. But when your response to being questioned by not just a member of the public, but your own employee, is to have her dragged out of a meeting and arrested, you have shown yourselves to be incapable of leadership.

This video should be broadcast as part of a civics lesson on how not to govern.

H/T David Begnaud

See also "Louisiana teacher handcuffed forcibly after asking questions at board meeting," The Guardian (1/9/2018)

1 comment:

Lee said...

Why is it appropriate for the superintendent to make 3 to 4 times what the teacher makes when it is the staff that do the real work of making the school and the students successful?
If the superintendent took a pay cut we could hire two more teachers or otherwise funnel that money back into the classroom where it belongs.