The Georgia private-school principal whose racist comments at a graduation ceremony last week garnered national attention and outrage has been fired. Nancy Gordeuk, who founded the TNT Academy as an alternative school in Stone Mountain, was fired by its board of directors Wednesday.
Board Chairwoman Heidi Anderson confirmed Gordeuk’s dismissal in a letter to the Gwinnett County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, saying the principal’s comment singling out African-American attendees at the commencement exercise prompted the directors’ action. “In light of recent events, the board of directors of TNT Academy has moved to dismiss Nancy Gordeuk as principal,” Anderson wrote in the letter, first reported by WXIA-TV in Atlanta. “During the coming transition, we will continue to prioritize support for our most recent graduates. Moreover, we will continue our commitment to providing students with the best educational classes, transcription services, and academic credit recovery possible.”
During the graduation ceremony May 8, Gordeuk erroneously dismissed the audience before the class valedictorian had given a speech. After realizing her mistake, she attempted to call people back to their seats. When it appeared they weren’t returning, she said, “Look who’s leaving, all the black people.”
Gordeuk’s comments sparked immediate outrage among the black and white people attending the ceremony. Most in the crowd angrily approached the podium, where she made the comment, and then exited the ceremony in protest. An attendee who captured the comments on a video later posted it to Facebook, where it quickly went viral. People all across the country had called for Gordeuk’s resignation.
Before her firing, Gordeuk apologized in an email to parents. “The devil was in the house and came out from my mouth,” she wrote in the email. “I deeply apologize for my racist comment and hope that forgiveness is in your hearts.”
Gordeuk’s son, Travis Gordeuk, came to her defense Saturday. He posted his address on his Facebook page and told critics of his mother to make their comments to his face. Later, Travis Gordeuk posted a second message that included a racial epithet, according to a Washington Post report.
— Angele Karen (@AngeleKaren) May 10, 2015