MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A black Wisconsin security guard who was fired for repeating a racial slur while telling a student not to use it says he’s not angry because he’s received “a busload of love” from supporters.
Marlon Anderson told WMTV-TV on Sunday that he hasn’t had time to be upset because of support he’s 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.
“If a young man is walking through the hallways and walking through life with a mentality that ‘I’m a n-word,’ He needs to be told you are so much more than a word that was given to you to oppress you,” Anderson said.
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.
The Madison teachers union has filed a grievance with the district on his behalf. In a statement, Madison Teachers Inc. said a hearing on the grievance is set 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,” the union said.
The school board president, Gloria Reyes, said in a statement Friday that she wants the board to review its policy on racial slurs as soon as possible. She said she also has directed district staff to handle Anderson’s grievance quickly.
The district did not immediately respond to a call for comment Monday.