A group of Wisconsin high school students staged a walkout to protest the firing of a black security guard who used a racial slur. Marlon Anderson was responding to a call of a disruptive student at Madison West High School on October 9 when the 17-year-old senior started calling him the n-word. Anderson told the student to stop calling him that word and repeated it during their verbal confrontation.
Less than a week later, Anderson was terminated for violating the school's zero-tolerance policy on using racial slurs. School officials defended their decision to fire Anderson, but many students and community members believe that the school was wrong to let him go.
They felt the school ignored the circumstances of the situation and pointed out that Anderson never directed the slur at the student, he just asked the 17-year-old not to call him the n-word.
The group of protesting students marched through the streets of Madison and made their way to the school district's offices. They circled the building chanting, "Hey-hey, hey-ho, zero tolerance has got to go!"
While local officials have not said whether they plan to reinstate Anderson, they do appear open to reviewing the policy.
"This is an incredibly difficult situation, and we acknowledge the emotion, harm, and complexity involved," School Board President Gloria Reyes said. "Many people in our community and our district are grappling with that complexity, and we will continue to do so as we go forward."