School board demands member apologize for tying COVID spread to illegal immigration

Tim Furr, Vice Chairman of Cabarrus County Schools in North Carolina, received backlash after comments he made connecting the spread of COVID-19 in the United States to the ongoing border crisis.

”If you ask me if I’m changing my stance on optional, no,” Furr said Monday night at the meeting where a potential mask mandate for students was being discussed. “I’m going to tell you why. I’m not trying to be on a high horse, and I’m not trying to make this political, but until this government [stops] letting illegal aliens in by the thousands, coming across this border without masks with COVID, putting them on buses, and sending them all over the United States, we’re just beating our heads against a wall, because these numbers are going to continue to rise. And we’re going to be having this same conversation day after day and week after week.”

Fellow board member Keshia Sandidge attempted to interrupt Furr while speaking and was told to stop.

“Are we serious right now,” Sandidge interrupts, repeating herself multiple times.

One parent, Lee Shuman, who has children in Cabarrus County schools, said Furr’s comments were political and divisive.

“I have a child in elementary, middle and high school and none of what happens to them and how we respond to COVID has anything to do with illegal immigration,” Shuman said. “And to bring that to the table and make that the No. 1 reason for why you’d never change your mind on a mask mandate is completely unacceptable, and it shows a lack of intelligence.”

In response to the backlash his comments have received, Furr told local media that he is undeterred and has many supporters who agree with him.

“I would say that’s one group of people’s opinion, because I’ve got dozens and dozens of emails, telephone calls, text messages, that stated that I was dead-on, and they appreciated my stance and their concerns,” Furr said.

Sandidge, the woman who interrupted Furr while speaking, put out a statement of her own, condemning his comments.

“The coronavirus knows no borders, ethnic groups, genders, or religious affiliations; it’s an equal opportunity killer! The inaccurate declaration made last night needs to be addressed with a formal apology to our community, students, teachers, and administrators,” her statement said.

Since making the comments, Furr’s social media pages have been disabled.

The Independent Chronicle contacted Furr for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

The school board controversy comes as many Republicans are making the connection between the border crisis under President Joe Biden and the spread of COVID and the deadly Delta variant.

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed Biden on Wednesday for “importing COVID” into the U.S. at the southern border.

RELATED: DeSantis slams Biden for ‘importing’ COVID-19 into the U.S. with open border

“This is a guy who ran for President saying he was gonna [sic] quote, ‘shut down the virus,’ and what has he done? He’s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide-open southern border…you have over a hundred different countries where people are pouring through,” DeSantis said. “You think [the Biden administration is] worried about Covid for that? Of course not…so he’s not shutting down the virus, he’s helping facilitate it in our country.” DeSantis then went on to denounce Biden over lockdowns and mask mandates.