Public schools in Vermilion Parish have ceased teaching students that the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans have a right to free speech.
The Vermilion Parish School Board decided to purge all references to the First Amendment from official curricula following the arrest of a Vermilion middle school teacher who addressed the board during the public comment portion of a recent meeting.
An Abbeville city marshal who serves as a school resource officer arrested Deyshia Hargrave after she was recognized to speak at the meeting and questioned a proposed $30,000 pay raise for the board’s superintendent. The English teacher from Rene Rost Middle School in Kaplan, where she won Teacher of the Year honors in 2016, was then transported to the Abbeville Police Department and booked into jail there.
School Board President Anthony Fontana led the effort to expel the tenet of the First Amendment from parish classrooms.
“When the Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment, they didn’t have to listen to women yap on and on for a whole three minutes.”
“We are no longer going to teach the debunked theory of free speech to our students,” Fontana explained. “That officer did the right thing and showed everyone that there is no such thing as free speech in America.”
The board also banned all employees from mentioning the phrase “free speech” on school grounds. The rationale behind the move is to avoid angering law enforcement officers, including school resource officers, and possibly inciting them to arrest people who menace their egos.
Shortly prior to Hargrave’s arrest, Fontana interrupted the teacher’s allotted three minutes of public commentary, which he said the framers of the U.S. Constitution did not intend to protect.
“When the Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment, they didn’t have to listen to women yap on and on for a whole three minutes,” Fontana said. “There’s no way they meant to guarantee women like that the right to criticize public officials like me.”