School board president resigns for racial remark

Friday, October 24th 2008, 6:32 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

CHICKASHA, Okla. -- The president of the Chickasha Board of Education submitted his resignation Friday after allegations were raised about him using a racial slur.

John Gentry was overheard by a community member using a discriminating comment, who reported the statement to the local newspaper. The incident involving the slur took place earlier this month, but it took time for those who were hurt to get their thoughts in line and demand Gentry's resignation.

Anthony Givens is a proud father.  He's got three straight A students, all of them in the Chickasha school district.

"The school system here is excellent and I would bend over backwards for them," Givens said.

It's why he was so shocked when he said he heard Gentry, the school board president say a racial slur against African Americans that included an illusion to slavery.

The comment drove Givens to write up a letter, demanding that Gentry apologize and resign. He delivered it and a witness' statement to the school administration and the local paper Friday morning.

"He's president of the school board. There is no room for this language," Givens said.

Assistant Superintendent Robyn Moore confirmed Gentry's resignation, whose term on the board was almost up.

"We're going to be determining whether or not we just wait on the election, it is Mr. Gentry's seat," Moore said.

Givens said Gentry did call with a heartfelt apology, but the pain of hearing that kind of statement is still there. 

"It just hurts me that the word is even in vocabulary. That it could come off someone's tongue," Givens said.

Gentry was serving the district in his final year of a five year term on the school board. NEWS 9 tried to contact Gentry, but he has not returned any phone calls.