Embattled Nebraska School Board member Pat McPherson proclaims, “I am not a racist” prior to a 6-to-2 vote by the board, calling on him to resign.
The school board approved a resolution asking McPherson to resign during its legislative retreat held at the Nebraska Department of Education offices in Lincoln.
The board took the action after reports revealed posts on a political blog McPherson operated referred to President Barak Obama as a half-breed.
McPherson read a prepared statement before the vote was taken, noting that he has apologized for offensive statements that appeared on the blog, Objective Conservative, which he founded nearly nine years ago. McPherson stated he has disavowed the offensive posts and has shut down the blog.
McPherson blamed political interests who opposed his election to the board for stirring the controversy.
“While I understand the disruption this issue has created, I will not allow it to overturn an election,” McPherson said. “For those who say my presence, one vote among those of seven other well-intentioned people, will impede the board in doing its job, I say that such a notion is simply false.”
For those not willing to accept his apology, McPherson asked that they “form their judgments about me based on actually working with me.”
McPherson read his statement. The board took its vote. McPherson refused to resign.
Afterward, State School Board President Rachel Wise said it’s time now for the board to get back to its work.
“I think it’s a matter of Mr. McPherson made a statement. The board has made a statement. And now we need to move on to the work that we need to do and the important work that we need to do,” Wise told Nebraska Radio Network.
Wise says it is important for the board to determine how it can move forward.
“How do you move together in a collaborative nature as a board? We as board members each have one individual vote,” according to Wise. “How we work forward in creating a voice as a collective voice will be our challenge to come.”
Wise said there is no room for the type of language used on McPherson’s blog.
“I can’t speak for my colleagues on the board, but for myself I have no tolerance for any bigotry, for racial bias, for discrimination.”
Wise added it is time now for the board to put the controversy behind it.
“I believe the board will move on. The board has a responsibility to move on.”
AUDIO: Nebraska School Board member Pat McPherson reads statement before board vote asking him to resign. [5 min.]