Attorney General Jeff Landry has sued the Vermillion Parish School Board and is asking that the January 8th meeting be voided. Teacher Deyshia Hargrave was ordered out of the meeting and arrested by a deputy city marshal after questioning the board about a raise for the Superintendent. The suit says her arrest violated the Open Meeting Law. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says all actions of the meeting would have to be done over.
"They would have to publish an agenda, give notice to the public, conduct the meeting in accordance with the Open Meeting Law, including allowing the members of the public providing a reasonable comment period on the proposed action."
Ciolino says not only could the meeting be voided, but board members in attendance at that meeting, including retired chairman Anthony Fontana, could face civil penalties.
"Up to 100-dollars per violation, per member of the school board. They include voiding all the official actions taken at that meeting."
And what about Superintendent Jerome Puyau’s salary increase? Ciolino says if the meeting is deemed as not having taken place, then Puyau technically didn’t receive a raise.
"If that meeting was conducted in violation of the Open Meeting Law, the action is perhaps subject to being voided."
The Louisiana Association of Educators and other groups have backed Hargrave, condemning the Vermilion Parish School Board. Landry’s office declined to comment on the case.