A Louisiana school board president drew criticism Wednesday for his response to a video that shows a female teacher being forcibly removed from a school board meeting after questioning the school superintendent’s pay raise.
The video shows middle school teacher Deyshia Hargrave being handcuffed and led out of the building Monday night. Critics have called out the teacher's removal, saying it was unnecessary.
“Everybody wants to side on the poor little woman who got thrown out,” Anthony Fontana, the Vermilion Parish School Board president, told WAFB in a phone interview. “Well, she made a choice. She could have walked out and nothing would have happened.”
Fontana said the public’s reaction to the video has been swift. But he drew criticism himself for his reaction to the video.
In the video, Hargrave makes the case that children learn in the classroom, and it is the teachers who are on the front line. She is soon led out of the meeting by a marshal, and the video cuts to show Hargrave on a hallway floor, screaming as the marshal handcuffs her hands behind her back.
Fontana did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment Tuesday and Wednesday. He told the Advertiser that he stands by the officer "100 percent."
“His job is to make sure we have an orderly meeting,” Fontana said. “He knows what the law is. He knows what our policy is. … The officer did exactly what he is supposed to do.”
Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, called out Fontana over the comment.
“This didn’t happen to this ‘little woman,’ as he calls her, but her name is Deyshia Hargrave.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he saw nothing on videos of Hargrave's arrest that warranted her rough treatment.
Hargrave returned to the classroom Wednesday. A local prosecutor said he won't pursue charges against her.
Hargrave said she was appalled by the way she was treated -- and grateful for support she has received from students, parents and others.
A rally of support for the teacher was being planned for Thursday afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.