MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin school district should rehire a black security guard who was fired for repeating a racial slur while telling a student not to use it, the school board president said Monday.
Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes said in a statement that she has asked interim Superintendent Jane Belmore to review the use of racial slurs in school and to rescind the termination of Marlon Anderson.
“As we experienced a series of racial slurs last school year, we had to take a stand — that we would unequivocally protect students from harm. That we would never excuse the deep pain of this hateful, violent language, regardless of intent,” Reyes said.
But she added: “It is important that we do not harm those that we are trying to protect.”
It was unclear if Reyes was speaking for herself or the entire school board. She did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday.
Earlier, Anderson said he was not angry about his firing because he has received “a busload of love” from supporters.
Anderson told WMTV-TV on Sunday that he hasn’t had time to be upset because of support he has received. He said people have stopped him on the street to hug him. Students from Madison West High School also staged a walkout Friday in support.
Anderson said he was responding to a call Oct. 9 about a disruptive student when the student, who is black, called him obscenities, including the N-word. Anderson told the student not to call him that, repeating the slur.
The school district has said it has a zero-tolerance policy on employees using racial slurs.
Reyes had said last week she wanted the district to resolve a grievance over Anderson’s firing as quickly as possible.
A district spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment on Reyes’ statement.
The school fired Anderson on Wednesday, but the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County hired him and he’s starting Monday.
“I didn’t have an opportunity to be mad, scared, worried or anything. I just got hit with a busload of love,” Anderson said.
A hearing on Anderson’s grievance is scheduled for Nov. 12.
“We believe the District should immediately acknowledge its error in terminating Mr. Anderson and immediately reinstate him to his position at West High, while commencing a broader review of its zero-tolerance practice,” Madison Teachers Inc., the teachers’ union, said in a statement.