A Connecticut school principal has reportedly been demoted for saying the n-word during an anti-racism workshop.
The New Haven Board of Education voted 4-3 late Monday to reassign Laura Roblee from her post at Brennan-Rogers Magnet School while demoting her to an assistant principal in the district for using the n-word during a hypothetical conversation during anti-racism training, the New Haven Independent reported.
Roblee, who was placed on paid leave in March, reacted to the workshop moderator’s usage of phrases like “white privilege” and “white people” by using the slur in response, the newspaper reported.
“She was apparently talking to some teachers and said, ‘What if I started saying [n-word] this, [n-word] that?” said board member Darnell Goldson, who opposed Roblee’s transfer, claiming her private apology and public demotion is an inadequate response.
“I’ve been called the n-word,” Goldson continued. “I was chased off a bus in Boston when I mistakenly went through south Boston, not knowing I went to the ‘wrong’ side of town. I’ve been the direct victim of this kind of stuff. This is not a slip of the tongue.”
The Post has reached out to Goldson.
Roblee, whose new school has yet to be determined, will start her transfer in July and will earn more than $137,000 as a 20-year employee. She asked for privacy when reached for comment on the matter, the Independent reported.
Superintendent Iline Tracey, who is black, had recommended that Roblee be demoted rather than fired Monday as she quoted poet Alexander Pope, saying “to err is human, to forgive divine,” according to the report.
“I don’t think it is in the best interest of any of us to destroy a person’s life over a slip of the tongue or something said in private to someone else,” Tracey said. “People are treating me as if I’m not a black superintendent. Don’t you believe I also have feelings when people say something about black people?”
Several board members told the New Haven Register Roblee was accused of using the slur during the workshop on racism and inclusion last winter.
Board members Tamiko Jackson-McArthur and Larry Conway voted against Roblee’s reassignment along with Goldson, while board president Yesenia Rivera voted to accept it with members Matt Wilcox and Mayor Justin Elicker, the Register reported.
Jackson-McArthur, meanwhile, accused district officials of not providing enough transparency in its investigation.
“I don’t agree with keeping this hush-hush,” she said. “Black people have been conditioned to take things and say, ‘Oh, it’s OK, that person didn’t mean it.’ Anybody leading a school is old enough to understand what they are saying.”