After a Black security guard was wrongfully fired for asking a student to stop calling him the n-word, support has come flooding in from multiple sources - including singer Cher.
Earlier this month, Black school security guard Marlon Anderson was fired from his job at Madison West High School when he asked a student, also Black, to stop calling him a racial slur. According to Anderson, the student called him the n-word, to which he responded, "Don't call me [the n-word]." He was then taken into the office by school Principal Karen Boran who stated the institution had a zero-tolerance policy for the use of racial slurs by staff in any context. He was swiftly let go following a hearing with the school district. Now, Madison West students and singer-actress Cher have stepped in to help Anderson, The Hill reports.
Cher stepped in to help the security guard on social media platform Twitter when she came across News 3 reporter Madalyn O'Neill's tweet about Anderson's story, in which she stated, "'I shouldn't be punished because I have the right to tell somebody not to call me this word"-- an emotional plea from a security guard fired from West High for repeating the n-word when asking a student to stop calling him that. MMSD's education board will be reexamining policies." Cher responded, "How can people be this disrespectful? A beloved man of color just passed and our nation [is] mourning him. Congressman Elijah Cummings FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE. He was loved and feared. If you want to sue [the] MMSD Education Board, I will incur your expenses."
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
Anderson worked at Madison West High School for 11 years before he was let go. Therefore, he has filed a grievance with regard to his firing, Madison Teachers Inc. executive director Doug Keillor confirmed. He explained in an interview with Madison.com, "While this is a process for an employee to seek justice, it is a lengthy process." In response to the grievance filing, Board president Gloria Reyes said in a statement that the board would "allow for [the grievance] process to play out so we can ensure the outcome is right for all involved." Additionally, Anderson affirmed briefly, "We're fighting this."
Meanwhile, student bodies at Madison West and beyond have decided to take action in support of Anderson. Late last week, students walked out of classes and held an impassioned demonstration in the state capital of Wisconsin. According to local media reports, about 1,500 individuals were present at the protest. Despite this, the board and school's standing has remained firm thus far. "We've taken a tough stance on racial slurs, and we believe that language has no place in schools," Reyes claimed. "We have also heard from the community about the complexity involved - and our duty to examine it. As a board, we plan to review our approach, the underlying policies, and examine them with a racial equity lens understanding that universal policies can often deepen inequities. We will ask the community for help in that process." School principal Boran added, "This is an incredibly difficult situation, and we acknowledge the emotion, harm, and complexity involved. Many people in our community and our district are grappling with that complexity, and we will continue to do so as we go forward." It can only be hoped that Anderson will be granted the justice he rightfully deserves.