Madison school district speeds up process to possibly reinstate fired security guard

District to review zero-tolerance policy as well

Madison West High School students said Friday that they are hopeful their voices will be heard to possibly reinstate fired security guard Marlon Anderson.

Anderson said he was fired for repeating a racial slur that was used against him by a student while he was telling the student not to say it.

Students and staff at West High School walked out of school Friday morning and marched to the district administration building two miles away to speak with district administrators about reinstating Anderson and reviewing the zero-tolerance policy.

Students are chanting “Zero tolerance has got to go”

— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) October 18, 2019

Anderson’s son, Noah Anderson, led the student protest and is also a leader at the school’s Black Student Union. Noah Anderson and several other student leaders went inside the district administration building to speak with interim superintendent Jane Belmore and board of education president Gloria Reyes, while the remainder of students stood outside continuing to chant until their meeting was over.

The meeting lasted for nearly two hours before Noah Anderson and other students walked out, thanking the district staff for listening to their concerns. Noah Anderson addressed the crowd, and said, “Anything to do with us, our voices will be heard. From now on, there will be no more decisions made without our consulting. In regard to Marlon, there is still a process going on. They took everything we said into consideration.”

Students are holding signs during their walk out

— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) October 18, 2019

Anderson went on to say, “They seemed very open, and they were accepting of our opinions. From what they told us, they said they’re going to bat for us and that they’re going to try. I trust them.”

Belmore said the conversation was very productive and that the students they met with “brought to our attention things that we had not thought about.”

Reyes added that, “It was a powerful day today for us all. They are educating us. They are our future, and we have to consider them in making decisions and policies that impact them directly.”

Reyes and Belmore said Anderson is currently going through a grievance process. Reyes said she is meeting with district staff Monday to talk about the review process, and that several other district staff will meet with the Black Student Union on Tuesday and Thursday to discuss how to provide more educational opportunities in schools regarding culture and race in the future.

“I believe that this is the start of something great in America that will be great,” Noah Anderson said. “It has not been great yet, but it will be.”

District staff said they are speeding up the process to get a decision made as soon as possible regarding Marlon Anderson’s reinstatement. Reyes said a hearing examiner will be selected by the union. The examiner will then make a decision to give to the school board. The board will then make a decision taking everything into account, including all statements made by students, staff and community members.

Noah Anderson said his dad “would be willing to return to the school for all y’all. He loves y’all.”

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