YOUNG VOICES

US Principal Called Out 'All The Black People' Who Left During A Graduation Speech

11/05/2015 12:28 BST | Updated 11/05/2015 12:59 BST

A principal of a school in the US has apologised for shouting "look who's leaving, all the black people," during a graduation speech, blaming the devil for her outburst.

Nancy Gordeuk, director of TNT Academy in Stone Mountain, Georgia, said she made the comments because she was in an "emotional state".

The incident occurred at the graduation ceremony, during the valedictorian's speech. Several members of the audience had started leaving, as Gordeuk had dismissed them, after forgetting about the speech.

When she told everyone to come back and some defied her Gordeuk interrupted the valedictorian and spelled out exactly what she thought of them. The incensed principal then called one individual "a little coward" for not returning, before making the racial remarks.

"When I looked up, all I saw was black families leaving, and thus the comment," Gordeuk told NBC.

"I deeply apologise for my actions made in the emotional state of trying to let this last student finish his speech," she told CNN. "I take a personal interest in the success of every student that comes through our doors without regard to their race, religion or ethnicity."

After Gordeuk made the comment, there were outcries of disbelief and horror and several people stormed the stage to remonstrate with the principal.

Calls are now being made for Gordeuk's job, while others are mulling over the long-term effects of her remarks.

Local news agency 11 Alive published Gordeuk's full apology, which she sent to parents via email. It read:

A terrible mistake on my part was part of the graduation ceremony on Friday night. The devil was in the house and came out from my mouth. I deeply apologize for my racist comment and hope that forgiveness in in your hearts. We all make mistakes and anyone who knows me realizes that I try my hardest to work with the students for them to obtain their goal of a high school diploma.

I do not think I have discriminated against any family in the school. I just pray you will realize I am a human and make mistakes just like everyone else does and be willing to forgive and move forward instead of concentrating on the bad of the situation.

To address the incident at the graduation ceremony of May 8. Please keep the facts in perspective. An unknown man at the beginning of a speech decided to walk up to the front of the audience with his tablet, videotaping the audience and the students causing disruption to the audience and disrespect to the ceremony and its participants. When disregarding the request o please sit down, the security was asked to remove the man. At that point, booing of the request commenced.

Frustrated with the prospect of ruining the once-in-a-lifetime ceremony the graduates have worked so hard for, my emotions got the best of me and that is when I blurted out "you people are being so rude to not listen to this speech (valedictorian). It was my fault that we missed the speech in the program." I look to the left where the man was and all I saw was a mass of people leaving and I said Look who's leaving, all the black people. At that point, members of the audience began to leave.

The facts are the rude booing from my perspective facing the audience condoning the actions of this man, are coming from the younger people in the audience. What if ten or twenty persons came and started videotaping the audience in the middle of a speech. Is that disrespect to the person trying to make his speech? Or does that mean everyone can just do as they please?

I sincerely apologize to all the persons in attendance at the ceremony for the actions of the few causing the disturbance and for my emotional, un-called generalization of the black persons in attendance. I deeply apologize for my actions made in the emotional state of trying to let this last student finish his speech.

I take a personal interest in the success of every student that comes through our doors without regard to their race, religion or ethnicity. My main concern for each is to provide them with an education and high school diploma to be able to continue on the pathway toward adulthood to become a successful member of society.

You will find many, many parents of all races, religions and ethnic groups that have been serviced by our school and are very appreciative of our efforts on the behalf of their students. This same group of students had the same support we have given to every other graduating class. It is very easy to judge someone, however, we all make mistakes, as we are only human.

Again, I deeply apologize for my offensive comment in the heat of my emotional state in trying to achieve respect for a student to be able to speak.