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Cabarrus County Board of Education member blames rise in COVID-19 cases on “illegal aliens”

Comments came during Monday night Board of Education work session
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 7:49 AM EDT
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CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - During a discussion of the rise in COVID-19 cases, a member of the Cabarrus County Board of Education blamed the case increase on “illegal aliens by the thousands coming across that border without masks, with COVID.”

Tim Furr later told WBTV that he did not mean to imply that any local increase in cases was due to immigration.

“When I say something, I mean it, but sometimes, like this one, I don’t really get the whole story,” Tim Furr said on Tuesday.

Third (non-consecutive) term board member Furr made the comments while the board discussed plans for students to return to school.

“I’ve got a lot to say about this, but better not,” Furr said. Explaining why he supported making masks optional, Furr said “I’m not trying to be on a high horse and I’m not trying to make this political, but until this government keeps illegal aliens by the thousands coming across that border without masks, with COVID, putting them on buses, sending them all over the United States, we’re just beating our heads against the wall. Because these numbers are going to continue to rise, and we’re going to be having this same discussion day after day and week after week.”

Another board member then tried to interrupt Furr, but was stopped by board chairwoman Holly Grimsley.

“No interruptions, not from board members or anyone from the audience,” Grimsley said. “I want everyone recognized to speak, okay. Every board member has the right to say what they need to say and that’s the way that goes.”

“Anyway, I’ve made my point,” Furr then said. “It’s not a political point. I don’t care who is in office. It’s wrong in so many ways and that’s just, you know, I get one vote and I have one opinion. I understand why parents have concerns. I’ve got grandkids in the school system. I’d be really dumb to put them in danger if I thought it was that bad. We have to quit being hypocritical about this situation. That’s all.”

Speaking with WBTV on Tuesday, Furr said that he didn’t “really get the chance to finish exactly what I want to say.”

“The point is, we as a country, we need to get serious about this COVID. This board sits there weekly, daily, weekly, and we have conversations all day. We’re doing everything we possibly can to make sure our students and staff are in the safest situation they can be in. With that and you look across the country, you go to the beach, or anywhere, there’s thousands and thousands and thousands of unmasked people all over the place right now,” Furr said. “That’s the reason our numbers are up, I think. It’s not, I did make mention, which is what got me in trouble I guess, of the border. I just happened, I never watch the news, but I happened to watch the news this week and they were speaking about that. There were thousands of immigrants coming across the border, unvaccinated, sick, bringing the COVID into our country. There’s actually cities in Texas that are suing the administration because of that reason, an so to me it’s like if you’re really serious about it you can do everything you can to stop the problem. I know that what’s going on in Texas right now has not had a direct reaction or reason why our numbers are up in Cabarrus County, I realize that, but with them going to different parts of the country it’s only going to spread and eventually it could cause our numbers to go up. It’s not there right now, not in Cabarrus County.”

KGNS TV News in Laredo, Texas, has reported that it obtained a copy of a lawsuit filed by the city of Laredo. In the lawsuit, city officials allege that the Border Patrol has increased the number of migrant busloads into coming into Laredo on the Texas border, from 3 to 6 per day. They contend that the increase has made the migrant crisis “significantly worse” for the town.

Furr says that he has received a lot of feedback on his comments. He says while most of the feedback has been positive, some has been negative, and he bristles at any suggestion that his comments were racist.

“I get labeled one way or the other, and that’s the sad part of it,” Furr said. “None of its true and that’s what frustrates you more than anything. Being a football coach for so long, and then somebody wants to paint you as a racist, that’s like ‘what are you talking about?’ That’s just crazy. Go ask my players, they’ll tell you...be happy to tell you but that’s the world we live in and you have to either keep your mouth shut or speak your piece. I think that’s the trouble with our country right now. Too many God-fearing people have sat on their thumbs and let things go and that’s why we’re where we’re at.”

Furr says he believes that more people should speak up and be heard about issues, particularly those related to the COVID pandemic.

“If you knew my intent of what I was trying to say, I know people are saying I’m blaming the numbers in Cabarrus County n what’s going on in Texas,” Furr added. “That’s not true. Taking it serious is my issue.”

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