School Resource Officer suspended after racially-charged remark
By WRCB Staff
MARION COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
On Wednesday at Whitwell High School, a group of about 15-18 students were taking part in a "survival guide" club. The club leader was showing students a dead raccoon.
When an African American student in the class asked the School Resource Officer “What are they doing?” and the officer reportedly replied, “They’re skinning your brother.”
When the statement was reported to the principal, the officer admitted to making the remark said the comment was made in a joking manner.
"The black student asked the club sponsor what they were doing today and at that point the officer said, and this is what he admitted saying, that they were "skinning you brother" today," said Superintendent Dr. Mark Griffith.
Griffith said he believes Deputy Anthony Gamble when he said he was joking with the student but his comment could cost him his job.
"He and the student would swap jokes back and forth but unfortunately he went too far with that," Griffith said.
Channel 3 followed along with Deputy Gamble last year when he became one of the first School Resource Officers in Marion County.
Sheriff Bo Burnett said Gamble has nearly 20 years of service with the department.
"He's got a good heart, I've known them for years and he does a lot for the community," Burnett said, "But he just said something that's inappropriate and it can't be tolerated."
The Sheriff wants to meet with the student's family as soon as possible to make sure they know how comments like this one are not tolerated, and to see how Gamble should be appropriately punished.
"I hope one day next week I can meet with the family I'd like to have their thoughts on this situation and see what they want," Burnett said.
"We just want the parents to know that safety is first and foremost and being professional and respectful is much desired as well," Griffith said.
The SRO has been suspended with pay following an internal affairs investigation with the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Gamble has been permanently removed from the SRO program.
Any further reprimand would come from Sheriff Burnett as well.
Wednesday, August 16 2017 11:10 AM EDT2017-08-16 15:10:08 GMT
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