MADISON (AP) — Music icon Cher is supporting a Madison school security guard who was fired for repeating a racial slur.
48-year-old Marlon Anderson says he was fired after he says he repeated a racial slur while telling a student who had called him that word not to use it. Both Anderson and the student are black.
The Madison School District has a zero-tolerance policy forbidding employees from saying racial slurs.
Responding to a reporter's tweet about the story, Cher wrote the following:
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
The Grammy-, Oscar- and Tony-award-winning artist says she's sad at such disrespect, especially after the death Thursday of black U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings.
Anderson is appealing his termination. The Madison teachers' union filed a grievance with the district on his behalf.
"I just don't understand getting fired for trying to defend yourself," said Anderson, who worked for the district for 11 years. "As a black man, I have a right not to be called that word."
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, West High Principal Karen Boran sent an email to families on Wednesday saying that racial slurs are not acceptable in schools, regardless of context or circumstance.
WISC-TV reports some students at Madison West High School walked out of class Friday to protest the firing. The station streamed video of the walkout that showed what appeared to be at least a few dozen students milling around on sidewalks.
It's not known whether the student faces disciplinary action.