Black High School Security Guard Fired for Asking Student to Not Use N-Word Is Reinstated
"I'm thankful. I'm blessed, and I'm so happy to be going back and doing what I do," Marlon Anderson said
A high school security guard in Madison, Wisconsin, is returning to work after he was fired from his job for asking a student not to call him the n-word.
Marlon Anderson revealed on Facebook, Monday, that Madison High School Superintendent Jane Belmore had “rescinded the decision of my termination.”
“I’m back!!” he wrote. “I will be placed on paid administrative leave and my transition plan is being negotiated.”
“I’m thankful. I’m blessed, and I’m so happy to be going back and doing what I do,” Anderson told Channel 3000. “I miss the kids. I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running.”
Anderson made headlines earlier this month when he shared the news of his firing on social media.
The Mississippi native told CNN he was at his job at Madison West High School on Oct. 9 when he was called by the assistant principal to help escort a student from the school grounds. That student was resisting and yelled multiple expletives at Anderson, including the racial slur. Eventually, Anderson responded “don’t call me a n——.”
Days later, on Oct. 16, he was fired, with school administrators citing their zero-tolerance policy as their reason for their termination.
“We’ve taken a tough stance on racial slurs, and we believe that language has no place in schools,” said Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes at the time, according to CNN.
That same day, Anderson posted on Facebook about the incident.
“I got called a bitch ass n—– by a student. I responded, ‘do not call me a n—–,’ and I got fired,” he wrote. “I, unfortunately, expected better.”
Outrage soon erupted on social media. An online petition was quickly launched asking for him to be rehired, with over 16,000 signatures acquired.
Just last Friday, over 1,000 students and staff members from Madison West High School staged a walk out, The Cap Times reported, protesting while the school’s Black Student Union executive committee met with district administrators.
“I am amazed at the dynamic support from my Madison Community your love is recognized and so appreciated,” Anderson wrote on Facebook on Oct. 18. “I am still fighting for my position at West and for justice to be applied to my situation. I am also still fighting to challenge the ‘no tolerance’ policy that made me a casualty to its flawed planning and implementation.”
Amid the uproar, Anderson — who is married with two sons — was offered an interim position at the local Boys and Girls Club.
“This is a great help to be able to earn wages while we go through this appeals process,” Anderson said on Facebook. “The reality is I did not just lose wages but also benefits. Most importantly we will soon be without health insurance … which makes the loss that much more impactful to myself and my family.”
“My medical needs are the most urgent concern to me as I am insulin dependent. This among other reasons is why I am still fighting for my position at West with fervor,” he wrote.
Anderson has worked for the school district for 11 years, CNN reported. Both of his sons attended Madison West High School.
Meanwhile, Reyes said in a statement that the school board would be reviewing its “no tolerance” policy.
“The Madison School District is committed to the practice of anti-racism within our schools to protect our school community,” she wrote. “We will continue to uphold our values of anti-racism and holding our teachers, staff and administration to high standards surrounding the use of racial slurs in our schools.”
“In our commitment to tackle anti-racism we have created universal practices using the non-discrimination policy to protect those who are most impacted by racial slurs. This is an opportunity for the board to review the policies and practices that are currently being used and dive deep into the issues of racism in our schools. It is important that we do not harm those that we are trying to protect.”
The statement continued, “It is all of our responsibility to tackle racism in our community and understand that use of racial slurs harms people particularly those terms that are deeply rooted in pain, struggle and denigration. We are confident that the Madison community will work with us to insure that we work towards racial equality and hold tight to our values.”
“Going forward, we will review our practice and we remain dedicated to protecting our students and staff from harm by implementing practices that are reflective of the humanity involved,” Reyes said. “We will grapple with complexity and assess it through a lens of deep racial equity.”