A Black security guard at a high school in Wisconsin is defending his position after repeating the use of a racial slur after a student confronted him by using several obscenities, including the N-word.
On October 9, Marlon Anderson told a disruptive student, who pushed the West High assistant principal escorting him, not to use the N-word by using the word himself.
Student: *calls Black security guard the n-word*— Suzanne F. Boswell (@sf_boswell) October 18, 2019
Security guard: do not call me the n-word
Madison school district: We have a zero tolerance policy on the use of racial slurs, so security guard, you're fired! https://t.co/hyU05yHDgI
The 48-year-old staff member told the student, who is also Black, “do not call me that” and “do not call me that word” after no other staff member tried to intervene.
As the altercation escalated, Anderson repeated the word that resulted in his termination.
He explained to News 3 Now his mindset in response to the situation.
“I made a conscious decision to address the word because it is an epidemic. Our kids use it everyday.”
The Madison School District has fired a black staffer for using a racial slur. He was asking a student not to call him the N-word. @madison_365 #MMSD #Schools #Madison #zerotolerance https://t.co/jfk0w7SJYD— Phil Hands (@PhilHands) October 17, 2019
The Madison School District has a strict policy on school employees using the racial slur.
In the last year, seven Madison School District staff members were either fired or resigned for using the N-word in the presence of students.
“You have no tolerance for a word. Yet you allow a student to call me that word over 15 times without correcting that behavior.”
Anderson, who was an employee for the district for 11 years, told the Wisconsin State Journal.:
“I just don’t understand getting fired for trying to defend yourself. As a black man, I have a right not to be called that word.”
This part of this thoroughly infuriating story: pic.twitter.com/eybPE8aoq5— Eugenia Zuroski (@zugenia) October 18, 2019
Now, the Madison teachers’ union has filed a grievance to fight the decision on Anderson’s behalf.
The union representing Madison teachers and staff today filed a grievance over the firing of a security guard for his response be being called a racial slur. We talk to Marlon Anderson, the janitor, tonight on 27 News at 5. https://t.co/JgA4tPLsl5— WKOW 27 (@WKOW) October 17, 2019
West High Principal Karen Boran support’s the district’s zero-tolerance policy against the use of the slur, regardless of context.
In an email addressed to families on Wednesday, she noted the policy has been “applied consistently and will continue to be applied consistently.”
“I also want to ask for your partnership as we work to make our school climate the very best it can be for all of our students and our staff.”
Marlon Anderson should sue all parties involved at Madison West High School in Wisconsin. He should not have been fired in the first place. Black high school security guard fired for telling student not to call him the N-word: https://t.co/KKWd3Vy8Ln— The Master Killa 🔮 (@MamaSophia666) October 18, 2019
Anderson said he feels he was targeted after discovering it was the assistant principal who turned on the microphone on the radio and transmitted the confrontation to other teachers.
According to the WSJ, Anderson said students called him the racial slur “many times” during his time as a staffer at East and West. But instead of being dismissive or combative, he engaged in “restorative conversations” on the history and meaning of the word.
Even when he wasn’t a target, Anderson would intervene if he heard students using the word and tell them:
“Don’t look at yourself like that. You are not that word.”
A petition demanding for the rehiring of Anderson states that the Madison Metropolitan School District has:
“been violating employee and students rights of free speech guaranteed by the US Constitution and several people, like Marlon Anderson, have lost employment because of their use of language that the School Board finds offensive in some circumstances.”
So far, there is no information in regards to the disruptive student and whether or not he faces disciplinary action.
But Marlon Anderson gained a friend on Twitter to help with any legal expenses. Academy Award winning actress, singer and overall icon Cher responded to Anderson’s story on Twitter to say she’d pick up the tab for legal fees.
How Can Ppl Be This Disrespectful⁉️A Beloved,Man of Color Just Passed,& Our Nations Mourning Him.Cong.Elijah Cummings FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE.He Was loved & Feared. If You Want To sue MMSD Ed.Board I Will Incur Your expenses.🕊EC
— Cher (@cher) October 18, 2019
— Sue Ryan (@sueryan) October 18, 2019
The book The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why is available here.