Vermilion school board plans special meeting to discuss AG’s lawsuit

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ABBEVILLE, La. (The Advertiser)- The Vermilion Parish School Board will meet Friday to “discuss and mediate” a civil lawsuit brought against board members by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

At least a portion of Friday’s meeting is scheduled to be in executive session, which is closed to the public. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.

Landry filed the lawsuit in March, about two months after an Abbeville City Marshal’s deputy arrested a Vermilion Parish teacher who spoke out during a board meeting about a pay raise for Superintendent Jerome Puyau.

In the suit, Landry accused board members of violating the state’s Open Meetings Law by stifling public debate. The suit asks a state court to nullify all of the board’s actions from that meeting, including Puyau’s $30,000 raise.

Landry is also seeking civil penalties against board members found responsible for violating the Open Meetings Law.

The arrest of the teacher, Deyshia Hargrave, prompted widespread outcry from citizens and educators across the country. The city declined to pursue criminal charges against her. Anthony Fontana, who was board president at the time of Hargrave’s arrest, stepped down from the board shortly after the incident.

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