Online petition asks for Union Co. Board of Education member's resignation

Online petition asks for Union Co. Board of Education member's resignation

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A petition has been created calling for the resignation of Dennis Rape, who is a Union County Board of Education member, following claims that he made racial comments toward staff members.

At a Board of Education meeting on Dec. 4, 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 said during the meeting.

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As of Thursday afternoon, over 130 people have signed the online petition.

Jennifer Weaver-Spencer, the person who created the petition, wrote this statement on the website:

"We the undersigned call on Dennis Rape to immediately resign his position on the Union County Public Schools (UCPS) Board of Education. We support the UCPS Board of Education in their censure of Dennis Rape and their calls for his resignation. Dennis Rape's racially insensitive comments show that he cannot effectively represent all UCPS parents and students."

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 the alleged remarks, Rape also apologized for offending anyone, which sparked widespread confusion among the board.

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 and the board then 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.

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