Grundy County School Board member under fire for making racial s - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Grundy County School Board member under fire for making racial statement

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GRUNDY COUNTY, TN -

A Grundy County School Board member is under fire.

Folks at Thursday night's school board meeting say board member Mike Yates should not have brought up race regarding a potential job candidate.

"He's impeccable, he would be perfect for what we want, and then I told them,” y'all realize we are in a white county, and I said: "This guy is black and it may be a problem with some people," said Michael Yates, board member, Grundy County Schools.

Channel 3 spoke with a man who wants to remain anonymous who was in attendance at Thursday's meeting,

"You ought to be ashamed of what you have said and done."

But Yates says he didn't do anything wrong, and says he has proof he's not racist.

"I worked in Chattanooga for 29-years, very best friends I had were black," said Yates.

Yates worries his words are out of context, he says he was just trying to point out that some in Grundy may not feel comfortable with an African American male coaching the men's basketball team

"We're 99% white, it doesn't matter to me, but we've got some people who may not be all keen about this idea," said Yates.

Thursday, Channel 3 spoke with civil rights attorney Donna Mikel who said if this basketball coach chooses to apply for a position, and he doesn't get hired, the county could face a lawsuit because of the comments that were made. Donna Mikel released this statement below:

“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act made clear that all employers are required to make hiring decisions on the basis of skills, abilities, and qualifications only and must not consider race, age, gender, religion, or other protected factors," said Mikel.

Channel 3 reached out to Grundy County School Board Director David Dickerson, but he did not return our calls.

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