Union Co. school board member accused of making racist comments

Every member of the Union County School Board is demanding a fellow member step down after he allegedly made racist comments.

MONROE, N.C. -- All eight members of the Union County Public School Board are banding together and calling for the resignation of fellow board member Dennis Rape after he allegedly made racist comments.  

Board members said as of Wednesday, Rape is refusing to step down from the board. 

The board says Rape — who was elected in 2016 — made references to a "Chappelle's Show" skit known as "The Milkman" that repeatedly uses a racial slur. 

Three staff members came forward with formal complaints after those comments were made in early November, which launched the investigation. 

“Mr. Rape made statements to the effect of, 'you don't get between a black man and his pork.' While they were passing around a pack of gum, Mr. Ralph made the comment, 'puff, puff pass,'" the board members declared in their scheduled meeting Tuesday. 

“These remarks are totally unprofessional on acceptable and racially insensitive." 

All of the members ended their meeting Tuesday asking for Rape to resign, claiming over the past year he has made several racist comments, asking, "when is enough, enough?"

“I tried to connect with everybody and I realize that I offended some people. I apologize," Rape responded. "I'm embarrassed and I'm sorry." 

But after his apology, he began denying the claims.

“I emphatically deny all of the things they say I said," Rape added. 

The other members were quick to shoot back. 

“Dennis, stop!" Leslie Boyd exclaimed. "Just admit to what you did and apologize. This is not acceptable. I'm so disappointed in you."

The December 5 meeting ended without an actual admission from Rape, although he did agree to enroll in sensitivity training on his own dime. Now, the board is making a public call for him to step down.

“The Board of Education will not tolerate this type of behavior," chairperson Melissa Merrell said in a press conference Wednesday. "It has no place in Union County Public Schools."

Board officials told NBC Charlotte even though they can censure members, there is no impeachment process they can fall back on, so if Mr. Rape sticks to his refusal to resign, he will remain in his position. 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment