Union Co. Board of Education member refuses to resign following accusations of racial remarks

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The Union County Board of Education unanimously agreed to censure one of its board members, after he refused to resign following claims of making racial comments toward staff members.

At Monday night's Board of Education meeting, eight members asked board member Dennis Rape to resign from his seat after an investigation into comments he's accused of making.

"Mr. Rape made the statements to the effect of 'You don't get between a black man and his pork', referred to one of the staff members as resembling Dave Chappelle and referencing one of Dave Chappelle's skits known as milkman. Mr. Rape made the comment while waiting for some gum 'puff, puff pass," a board member read Monday night.

According to Board Chair Melissa Merrell, three staff members approached her separately from Nov. 9 through Nov. 13, accusing Rape of making the comments. They say it happened during an impromptu meeting with Rape on Nov. 9.

"I emphatically deny the things they say I said," Rape said.

While denying to make the remarks, Rape also apologized for offending anyone. It sparked a widespread confusion among the board Monday night.

Board member Gary Sides made a motion to ask Rape to resign, but if he chose not to, then the board should censure him. Rape said he would not resign.

The board agreed to censure him. Under the punishment, he was removed from all committees and is not allowed to go into the schools unless for official board business or special events.

Chair Merrell also suggested he not conduct any board business without another board member present.

Rape agreed to go through sensitivity training and pay for it himself, after the private attorney was hired by the Board, and paid for by taxpayer dollars, to investigate the allegations.

WBTV called and emailed Rape on Tuesday, but has not heard back.

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