COLLIERVILLE, TN (WMC) - The father of the eighth grade boy arrested for an act of racist vandalism in Collierville condemned his son's actions, but said he is not a racist.
"I'm not trying to get my son out of any trouble. He deserves what he gets for this," he told WMC Action News 5.
WMC Action News 5 is not revealing the identity of the student or his father, because the student is under 18 years old and Collierville Police Department has not made his identity public.
The boy's father said he feels anger and sadness over the whole incident. He contacted WMC Action News 5 to shed light on his son's actions, saying they were not connected in any way to the white supremacist rally and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The father said he hasn't been sleeping and his stomach has been in knots over the actions of his 13-year-old son and his son's 14-year-old friend.
"This is a good town. Dr. Mitchell is welcome here, and I'm ashamed and sorry that this happened to him," the boy's father said. "It's terrible. I've been sleeping like two hours a day. I've got a knot in my stomach. It's bad."
Collierville Police Department said the two teens face charges tied to multiple cases of vandalism and Civil Rights intimidation.
The most prominent case of vandalism was the racial slur found spray painted on Pastor Jason Mitchell's vehicle Sunday night in Collierville High School's parking lot.
The boy's father said the teens put the act on Snapchat, and they thought the whole thing was funny.
"It's terrible. It's disgusting. It's vile, but--as silly as it sounds--it was a joke," he said.
The father said his son has been expelled from school for the year, and he's not sure if he'll even send him back. He also said his son didn't learn those racist views at home.
"My community's not like that. My family's not like that, and mostly, Dr. Mitchell didn't deserve it," he said.
The boy's father went on to say that he has reached out to Mitchell and wants to apologize to him in person.