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Prince George’s Co. schools says it can’t fire employee in racial slur video

WASHINGTON — Prince George’s County Public Schools officials say they can’t fire an employee caught on video admitting she used a racial slur because the woman is a union employee.

Monica Goldson, interim school CEO, said in a statement released Friday that she is “disappointed and deeply disturbed” by the employee’s behavior.

“While there have been calls for me to take disciplinary action, current negotiated agreements with our the union representing this employee limit my ability to address this situation directly,” Goldson said in the statement. “Additionally, there are other legal considerations. This employee, like all of us, is entitled to due process.”

Goldson said the employee, who has not been identified, has been reassigned.

A viral video posted on Facebook Nov. 12 by a Maryland woman named Dawn Tolson-Hightower showed part of an encounter in a La Plata Walmart parking lot that began after she said the woman didn’t like the way her husband pulled out of a parking space.

“Did you just call my husband the N-word,” Tolson-Hightower asks the woman in the video.

“Yeah, I did,” the woman says.

 

So while leaving the Walmart parking lot my husband was called The N Word, because he didn’t move out the parking spot the way she wanted him to. I saw where she was parking her vehicle and confronted her. How dare she talk to my husband that way and in front of me and my children. The thing I thought was so profound is that she was proud of it and didn’t try to deny it. My house was burned down in 2004 by racist and now this!!! I’m so ashamed to live in a country that supports this type of hatred and bigotry.

Posted by Dawn Nichelle Lennon on Monday, November 12, 2018

 

In a message to the school community, Goldson said: “Any employee who does not recognize, value and celebrate the value of our diversity has no place in our community of schools. Students of color comprise the overwhelming majority of our enrollment. We educate more students of color, send more students of color to college and employ more people of color than any other school system in Maryland. Diversity is the strength of Prince George’s County Public Schools”.

Goldson said she hoped the “unfortunate situation” could be used to “engage in meaningful dialogue to enhance our civility, respect and empathy.”


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