Update (10/23, 11:51 am): Multiple outlets are now reporting that security guard Marlon Anderson has been reinstated to his job. He is currently on administrative leave "while his return is negotiated," according to the BBC.
Original Story: Imagine someone berating you, trying to be physically intimidating and using particular language against you. Now, imagine getting fired from your place of work because you asked that someone to stop using that particular language against you. That’s apparently what happened to high school security guard Marlon Anderson recently.
Anderson, a black man who was the security guard at Madison West High School in Wisconsin, says that he was asked to assist in removing a student from the school grounds because the student was acting uncontrollably, “yelling” at and “pushing the principal.”
Anderson claims that he was fired from his job recently because he told a student who was repeatedly calling him the n-word to stop calling him the n-word. Obviously, they didn’t literally use the phrase “the n-word.” Both parties supposedly used the term that most of know accompanies that label.
The school, according to CNN, didn’t comment about Anderson’s termination, but did say that the school has a strict “zero-tolerance” policy concerning the use of racial slurs.
“You have no tolerance for a word, but yet you allow a student to call me that word over 15 times without correcting that behavior,” Anderson said in an interview with WISC-TV.
There’s no word on the race of the student who called Anderson the n-word. But, Anderson also said that the school should look at their policy because context matters.
“My father was called this word. My grandmother, my grandfather, and keep going on down the family line,” Anderson said. “We were all called this word, and not one of them could say, ‘Don’t call me that!’ I can, and I shouldn’t be punished because I have the right to tell somebody not to call me this word.”
Madison West students staged a walkout last Friday to show their support for Anderson. Anderson’s son, Noah, is the president of the black student union and led the walkout.
The union Anderson is a part of filed a grievance with the school board last week, and the school is reportedly reviewing how they handle situations like this in the future.
If everything is as it’s being reported, it’s pretty clear-cut that Anderson was wronged in the situation. Luckily, Anderson was swiftly hired by the local Boys & Girls Club as their security guard.
It used to be that when a child got in trouble at school, their parents would ask what they did wrong. Now, too often, when a child gets in trouble in school, the parents will ask what the teacher has against their child. It’s time to make kids accountable for their actions again.
For WISC's local coverage of this story, watch below: