Last week, during the high school graduation ceremony for TNT Academy, a private school just outside of Atlanta, founder/director Nancy Gordeuk accidentally dismissed the crowd earlier than expected. So as a student was trying to give a speech, there were people walking out of the ceremony. It pissed off Gordeuk, who began reprimanding the crowd from the stage, but then it took a really ugly turn when she said, “Look who’s leaving, all the black people.”
— Henn Griffey Jr. (@IAMKRIS24) May 9, 2015
In an apology email to parents, Gordeuk lay the blame for her comments on… Satan:
“A terrible mistake on my part of the graduation ceremony on Friday night,” Gordeuk wrote [in an email]. “The devil was in the house and came out from my mouth. I deeply apologize for my racist comment and hope that forgiveness in [sic] in your hearts.”
So in addition to being racist, she couldn’t even take responsibility for being racist. She had to deflect that onto an imaginary being.
It won’t surprise you to learn that Gordeuk was fired on Thursday:
In an email sent to the NAACP, TNT Academy board of directors chair Heidi Anderson wrote the board had moved to dismiss Gordeuk…
The Georgia NAACP released a statement late Thursday morning applauding the TNT Academy board’s action.
“Beyond the inappropriate remarks,” Johnson said in the statement, “the former principal attempted to legitimize the bizarre episode by claiming ‘the devil made her do it.’ The Flip Wilson defense may have worked for a comedian, but not a chief educational official charged with the overall day-to-day management of academic and school operations.”
Had she simply admitted it was entirely her fault and taken more pro-active measures to rectify the situation, maybe there could have been a way forward, but she blew that opportunity with each media appearance in which she attempted to defend her words. (At one point, she claimed she didn’t know saying “black people” was racist.)
Firing her is an easy move to make and it’s the right thing to do. The students at that school deserve someone who sees them as more than just the color of their skin.
It’s worth noting that the board may have had good reason to act quickly: a parent was getting ready to “file a complaint challenging the school’s accreditation with the Georgia Accrediting Commission.” After the firing, that may no longer be the case.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)