A Wisconsin high school security guard is reportedly out of a job after telling a student not to call him the N-word. The firing, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, has sparked anger and calls for a protest among Madison’s Black community.

Marlon Anderson worked for the Madison school district for 11 years before being fired for what he says was a rebuke of a student calling him a racial slur. “Short story… I get called a bit@# @ss Ni€€A by a student, I responded do “not call me ni€€a !” And I got fired. MMSD I unfortunately expected better,” Anderson wrote on Facebook. 

School officials say his firing was the result of a zero-tolerance policy that forbids the use of racial slurs by faculty members under any and all circumstances. 

Short story….I get called a bit@# @ss Ni€€A by a student, I responded do "not call me ni€€a !"And I got firedMMSD I unfortunately expected better

Posted by Marlon Anderson on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

“I had no idea I was going to be terminated because I didn’t understand that zero tolerance meant there is no context attached to the word,” Anderson told the Wisconsin State Journal. “I need the district to answer the question of how can a Black man lose his job for telling a student to not call him the N-word.” 

The incident that ultimately caused Anderson’s firing happened last Wednesday when escorting a Black, male student out of the school who was being disruptive. According to Anderson’s account, the young man called him the N-word repeatedly. As he was working to de-escalate the situation and get the young man to refrain from using the racial slur, Anderson alleges that the assistant principal, who was also present, placed the microphone on her radio close to his mouth so that others with radios could hear the exchange. The former Madison high school employee told reporters that he felt “targeted.”

Headshot of Marlon Anderson, former security guard at Madison School District
Marlon Anderson

While Anderson works on his appeal through his union representation, others in his community have taken up his cause. On Friday, students are planning a walkout in support of the West High School guard. Thursday the Black Student Union, for which Anderson’s son serves as President, held a community forum to discuss the handling of the incident, according to Madison.com. 

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