School board member quits after making slur against tribe

Jeff Koble, a Darrington appointee, wrote of “drunk Indians and government handouts” in a text message.

DARRINGTON — A school board member resigned earlier this month after making statements on social media that insulted Native Americans.

“The derogatory comments were directed at the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe and members of our Native American community,” Superintendent Buck Marsh wrote in a public statement after the resignation. “The views expressed by this individual DO NOT represent the views of the Darrington School Board or of the Darrington School District.”

Former school board member Jeff Koble wrote the comment after the Sauk Suiattle Indian Tribe announced plans to open a casino near Darrington later this summer.

A screenshot shared with The Daily Herald shows a message from Koble in which he wrote: “On the Indian Casino how about calling it Drunk Indians and government handouts casino.”

A follow-up message reads: “I made a mistake in sending this out.”

Koble resigned in an email to the school board and superintendent June 15. It was one sentence.

“I resign from the school board immediately,” he wrote. He could not be reached for additional comment.

The school board plans to set a timeline for selecting a new board member at its meeting Tuesday evening. The agenda includes accepting the resignation and starting the process for filling the vacancy.

Koble was the District 2 director for the Darrington School Board. He was appointed in December to fill an empty seat.

He was one of four new directors appointed or elected since November. There have been three resignations and one election affecting the five-person board in recent months.

Koble said in his application for the seat that his goal was to run the district like a business, based on what is best for the children’s education. He wrote that he wanted to acknowledge past issues and move forward. He was one of five people who applied for the spot.

Marsh wrote in his message to the community that he and the board are committed to equity and understanding.

“I apologize for the damage that these comments caused to students and families in our district,” he wrote.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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