A day of celebration quickly turned to disgust when a high school principal started spewing racist comments, causing most of the senior class and their supportive families to leave the graduation in protest.
Video of the commencement ceremony for TNT Academy in Lilburn, Georgia on Friday shows the moment the schools’ founder Nancy Gordeuk stood up and admonished some of the students for leaving, saying: ‘Look who’s leaving…all the black people!’
At that statement, the incredulous crowd grows loud with anger and most of those sitting appear to get up and leave the church where the ceremony was taking place.
Daily Mail Online spoke to Suzette Cole of Colorado, who was in town on Friday to see her nephew graduate in the alternative school’s small class of just 48.
Cole, who was spent most of her career working in higher education, says she has attended at least 30 commencements in her life and has never heard someone speak at a graduation the way Gordeuk addressed the audience during the ceremony.
She says that the entire ceremony was ‘tense’ and that Gordeuk’s racist comment was just the tipping point for herself and most of the other family members in the crowd.
Daily Mail Online contacted both Gordeuk and the school for comment, but did not receive a response Saturday afternoon.
Cole’s recollection of events is similar to several from commenters online who say Gordeuk lost control of the ceremony when she skipped over the valedictorian’s speech and dismissed the graduating class early.
The valedictorian’s mother, who was sitting directly in front of Cole, stood up as the recession music started and waved Gordeuk down saying ‘You missed his speech! You missed his speech!’
Gordeuk then returned to the podium and told the class to come back into the auditorium so that they could hear the valedictorian (who Cole described as a white male) speak.
Upset that some were not heading her orders, Gordeuk snapped at individual members of the audience – including an African-American man who had come up to take a picture of the honor students sitting behind the podium with his iPad.
‘I think ya’ll owe this young man apology,’ Mrs Gordeuk says, referring to the valedictorian. ‘Especially that goober who was coming through with that little thing [an iPad] that was so rude where are you, you little coward? Come back here let’s talk.’
‘Ya’ll are among the rudest people I’ve seen in my whole life,’ Mrs Gordeuk continues, while ordering someone in the back to close the doors.
‘You people are being so rude to not listen to this speech, it was my fault that we missed it in the program. Look who’s leaving – all the black people!’
Following the comment the crowd erupts in anger, and Cole estimates that about two-thirds of the class and their families left the room to go outside – fed up with Gordeuk.
SOURCE: ASHLEY COLLMAN