School board members want answers after volunteer coach arrested on drug charges

He was taken off campus Thursday afternoon in handcuffs.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:01 PM CDT
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PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) - Mobile County school board members are expressing their anger after a man is accused of selling drugs at Vigor High School.

38-year-old Herbert Burrell is still in Metro Jail as of Friday afternoon.

He was taken off campus Thursday afternoon in handcuffs.

Burrell is not an employee at the school. He was a volunteer coach with the football team.

According to the sheriff’s office Burrell would leave the school, pick up the drugs, and then come back to sell them.

The school board wants to make it clear, he wasn’t selling to students or employees.

FOX 10 News did some digging and found out Burrell has previous arrests involving drug activity.

School board members are trying to figure out how he slipped through the cracks.

Investigators say he was selling a controlled substance on school property.

District Five School Board Member Johnny Hatcher was angered by those accusations.

“I would say sickened. I can’t imagine someone betraying our trust such as that,” Hatcher said. “You entrust people to come out here around our children and do what’s right. And this is the kind of behavior? I mean it’s sad.”

No one was more upset than District Three School Board Member Dr. Reginald Crenshaw who oversees Vigor’s district.

Dr. Crenshaw says it’s the school’s responsibility to make sure everyone has a background check.

“It’s the local school’s responsibility initially that anyone that comes to that campus, if it’s a choir volunteer, a band parent, and they participate in any of those activities then they’re supposed to have a background check done,” Dr. Crenshaw explained.

A statement was sent out from the school system Friday that reads:

According to jail records, Burrell was arrested back in 2015 for possession of marijuana, unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance.

The same charges he’s facing eight years later.

We asked Dr. Crenshaw if they were aware of Burrell’s previous arrest or if the school ran a background check on him...

“No, we were not. I understand some of those he plead guilty to which is an admission of your guilt,” Dr. Crenshaw said. “He should not have been there. It’s unfortunate but we got to fix it.”

Sheriff Paul Burch says Burrell is also facing charges from other agencies. It’s unclear what those charges are.

Burrell is in Metro on a $21,000 bond.

FOX 10 News asked for clarification on who Burrell was allegedly selling the drugs to if it’s not students or employees, but we didn’t get an answer.