The Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin has terminated an African American security guard for using a racial slur, because the 11-year employee ordered a black student to stop calling him the N-word.
According to WISC-TV, Marlon Anderson, 48, who served as a security assistant at Madison West High School, says he stepped in to help when a black student (who was refusing to leave school grounds) pushed the assistant principal. Anderson told the outlet that the student then called Anderson the N-word at least 15 times, in a profanity-laced tirade. Anderson then used the slur himself when he told the student to stop calling him the N-word.
Anderson wrote his account of the language used during the incident in a Facebook post Wednesday, saying, “I get called a bit@# @ss Ni€€A by a student, I responded do ‘not call me ni€€a!’ And I got fired.”
In an email to parents the same day, the school’s principal, Karen Boran, wrote:
“I’m writing to inform you of a serious incident that occurred at West High School last week. The incident involves a staff member using a racial slur with students. We have investigated the incident, and the staff member will not return to West.”
Boran explained, “As you know, our expectation when it comes to racial slurs has been very clear. Regardless of context or circumstance, racial slurs are not acceptable in our schools. It is a standard we will continue to hold for professional conduct, that has been applied consistently and will continue to be applied consistently.”
People are furious. A change.org petition has been launched to get Anderson reinstated to his post, the teacher’s union has issued an appeal on behalf of the father of three, and students from Madison West are planning a walkout in support of Anderson on Friday.
MMSD initially defended their decision, citing their “zero-tolerance” policy against using such language under any circumstances. But as public outrage has mounted over the situation, school board president Gloria Reyes issued a statement Thursday, saying, “As a board, we plan to review our approach, the underlying policies, and examine them with a racial equity lens understanding that universal policies can often deepen inequities.”
Anderson says he wants to get back to doing the job he loves.
“I believe God created me he called me to work with kids,” he told WKOW-TV. “I thank God for the opportunity to work with so many great people and work in such a great community. Thank you guys for trusting us with your kids.”