Principal at Tennessee Middle School Drops N-Word While Addressing Students About ‘Behavioral Expectations’ and ‘Eliminating Use of Derogatory, Racially Charged Terms’

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A Tennessee community has blasted a principal for using a racist slur during a school assembly, but the district’s leader has asked community members to consider the principal’s “intent and the context in which he used the terms.”

Last week, Trenton Rosenwald Middle School principal Paul Pillow was filmed hurling derogatory terms—including the N-word—during a meeting with students before class.

In a statement posted on the district’s website, Trenton director of schools Tim Haney said Pillow used the slur while addressing students about “behavioral expectations.”

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“We offer no excuses for it and will own any criticism of it,” he said. But he nevertheless defended Pillow, saying he was only reiterating what he had heard students say.

“[Pillow] was attempting to eliminate the use of a couple of derogatory, racially charged terms and, in so doing, made what he and I both consider to be a mistake in his method of delivery in that attempt. For that, we apologize and commit to better communication methods going forward. But I would ask everyone to please consider his intent and the context in which he used the terms,” he said.

He said Pillow “informed me of the nature of his message and of his regret as to how it was delivered” and they both “agreed that some time away from the principals’ chair was in order.”

Haney added that district administrators were “distressed” over the situation and “will work to better handle future situations.”

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast, Brooke Leigh Howard

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