Parents, teachers upset over email about student’s death

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A controversial staff email has some Memphis Business Academy teachers up in arms while mourning the death of a student.

Gabby Brown, a 9th-grader, hasn’t even been laid to rest yet, and already some are feeling a lack of sensitivity through their grieving process.

The principal of Memphis Business Academy sent an email telling staff members that Brown’s funeral is not to be used as a day off, or for people who just like attending funerals.

“My son, he is one of her classmates, and it’s been hard on him and a whole lot of other kids,” Richard Mask, a parent of a student at the school, said.

Mask said he has been comforting his son since Brown was found dead Jan. 27 in her home on Cedell Drive. Police said her father was also found dead in the same home, and he took his own life.

“Some kids are impacted by it,” Mask said. “My son has been talking about it for a week or so now.”

The tragedy is hard pill for so many to swallow. Brown is remembered as a quiet freshman with a bright smile.

“That wasn’t right,” Mask said about the principal’s email. “She shouldn’t have said that.”

WREG reached out to the principal, who told us whoever reached out to us took the email out of context.

She said she wrote a whole paragraph expressing support of those choosing to attend, leading up to the last sentence upsetting parents and teachers alike.

“All of them should go if they really want to go,” Mask said.

Mask said teachers should be encouraged to attend because students will need the support on Wednesday, and parents may have to work.

“It’s not going to be enough parents there to comfort all of the children,” Mask said.

Brown’s funeral will be Wednesday at noon.

The principal told us she’s tried really hard to work with students and teachers to make sure everything goes smoothly at the funeral.

The cause of Brown’s death is undetermined at this time.

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