School board member resigns (twice) after saying police ‘should have shot’ students

School board member resigns over controversial email

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A Lakota Local School District board member recently resigned after sending an email to Lakota West High School’s principal saying police “should have shot” two students arrested during an incident at the end of August.

The incident took place in the high school’s parking lot Aug. 26 as West Chester police officers were attempting to serve a warrant.

The warrant arose from an aggravated robbery on July 3, during which, according to the incident report, $1,000 cash, $200 in Mexican pesos, a silver watch and a wedding ring were stolen from a West Chester residence.

Officers went to the high school on Aug. 26 to get a cell phone they said had evidence on it from the robbery.

Police say the student with the phone refused to give it to them, put it down his pants, then, as he was being put in the patrol car, threw it to a female classmate, who destroyed it. She was also taken into custody, according to police.

Lakota West High School Principal Ben Brown sent an email addressed to “parents and guardians” describing the incident at 4:42 p.m. the same day.

Two hours later, Lakota Local Schools Board of Education Member Todd Parnell replied in an email to Brown: “They should have shot them.”

Brown forwarded Parnell’s email to District Superintendent Matt Miller and Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion Elgin Card, saying: “This is very disturbing."

The same evening, Miller notified Board President Brad Lovell, according to a statement Lovell issued Friday.

Lovell says he and District CFO and Treasurer Jenni Logan met to discuss how to remove Parnell the next morning.

“The decision was made quickly to ask Mr. Parnell for his resignation from the Board,” Lovell explained. “Unlike a company employee, as an elected official, a school board member cannot be immediately fired.”

At 11:59 a.m. that morning, Parnell sent an email to Miller and Lovell offering his resignation. He does not mention the comment of Aug. 26 or being asked to resign, instead explaining: “This has been a very trying year due to business issues along with family obligations; I do not feel I can give the proper time and energy that being a board member requires.”

Parnell then rescinded his resignation two hours after submitting it.

In a 2 p.m. email to Lovell and several others, Parnell wrote: “I am hereby rescinding my previous email of resignation (which is not effective yet) pending further discussion with the board and my personal attorney who is copied on this email.”

One hour later, according to Fuller, Parnell changed his mind again.

“Well, I just got a call for an opportunity that would force me to move out of the district,” Parnell wrote in a 3 p.m. email. “Therefore, I am not going to rescind my resignation. Please proceed with it.”

District Community Relations Director Betsy Fuller provided the emails to FOX19 NOW.

Fuller says the board voted unanimously to accept the resignation at a 4:30 p.m. emergency meeting on Aug. 27.

She explains the board decided not to make Parnell’s comment public out of sensitivity for his family, “particularly his children.”

Lovell read his statement at Friday′s meeting of the board, informing the community of a public records request and explaining the events surrounding Parnell’s resignation.

“We want you, our community, to understand that Mr. Parnell’s vile comments have absolutely no place in this school district. The Board acted swiftly and definitively to remove him from his seat," Lovell said. "Our focus now is on finding the very best candidate from our community to fill the remainder of the open term on our school board.”

Miller says the board plans to appoint a new member at a meeting Monday.

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