An African American security guard has told how he lost his job after asking a student to stop calling him the n-word.
Marlon Anderson was working at the Madison West High School in Wisconsin, USA, last Wednesday, when he was called to help the principal remove a student from school grounds, CNN reports.
Anderson says the student was resisting, shouting and pushing the principal, which is why they called him for backup. But when he arrived, the student began shouting racial slurs at him.
Initially, the security guard says he asked the student to stop calling him racist words, without actually using the word in question. However, that meant the student continued to call him different variations of the deeply offensive term.
Finally, Anderson snapped and told him, ‘don’t call me (racist word).’ And because of that one comment, he has now lost his job.
The school has declined to comment on the matter, but did tell CNN it has a zero-tolerance policy for the use of racial slurs.
President of the Madison Board of Education, Gloria Reyes, said in a statement:
We are working to make our school climates the best they can be for all students and staff.
We’ve taken a tough stance on racial slurs, and we believe that language has no place in schools.
Unsurprisingly, Anderson doesn’t agree with the school’s policy, telling CNN:
The district just wants to say you can’t use this word, period.
These policies are hurting the kids and staff. Without context this isn’t helpful; it’s more hurtful.
According to Reyes, the school board is now reviewing its approach on this matter. Meanwhile, Anderson’s union has filed a grievance with the school district on his behalf this week. He’s seeking to be reinstated with back pay, according to the union.
Prior to the incident, Anderson had been working at the school district for 11 years, and even has two sons who attended Madison West High School. One is currently a senior and the other has graduated.
Fortunately, Anderson has supporters on his side, and the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County has hired him as its temporary director of programme operations.
In a Facebook post revealing the new hire, the non-profit organisation spoke of Anderson’s ‘amazing track record’ with local teenagers.
According to reports, students at the school staged a walkout on Friday in support of the security guard.
Singer Cher has even offered to pay his legal fees if he chooses to sue the school. Incredible stuff.
If you’ve experienced a hate crime, you can report it by contacting Stand Against Racism and Inequality on 0800 171 2272
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.