LAWRENCE, Miss. (Ben Caxton) – Some Lawrence County residents are shocked and outraged over what they claim are racist and insensitive comments made by a school board member. It happened during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
In an 3 On Your Side exclusive, we talked to one of the targets of the rant and the board member who made the comments.
As school districts across the state and nation struggle with how to reopen safely during a pandemic, board members in Lawrence County are hit with a new challenge.
”I apologize if I hurt anybody feelings but it’s time we have a say,” said Dan Stuckey.
District-3 representative Dan Stuckey became irritated with some questioners from the community and went on a nearly 25-minute rant about race, clearly irritated over a recent Black Lives Matter rally and laying the blame on African-American pastors in the community.
Stuckey said, ”I’ve been in the county 40 years. We don’t have a race problem, perceived by anybody, but, and I’m gonna get in trouble here, radical Black pastors, because you undoubtedly must be preaching and teaching hate in the churches. Because the Blacks in my community, we sit down and eat regularly. We socialize. We get along real well.”
He continued, saying, ”Some things I see on Facebook all the time after the guy was killed by the police in Minneapolis and all the riots and all. You ever notice the people doing what they’re supposed to do don’t have no trouble with the police?”
”So, I was floored to say the least,” said Dr. Wesley Bridges.
Bridges is school board president. He said he’s already forgiven his fellow board member for his comments.
Dr. Bridges said, ”And I can only assume what he meant. He said Black preachers. It was three Black preachers in the room so I know he meant us three. And, so, I just want to show him what we actually teach. We actually teach love and forgiveness.”
In a phone interview, Stuckey did not back down from his comments.
Stuckey said, ”You know, if people are doing something wrong, there’s a reason. Yes, they should not have killed the man. It could’ve been an accident. It could’ve been on purpose. We don’t know everything about it. We know just what y’all’ve, they’ve shown on TV.”
”You know, you come down to race. I’m not racist,” he said. “They claim I am. That’s their opinion.”
Both Stuckey and Bridges agree Lawrence County has come a long way when it comes to race relations, but Bridges said there’s still work to be done and now he’s concerned about his county’s image.