The white principal of North Carolina high school has apologized for using the phrase “colored folks” during a staff meeting, a recording of the mea culpa revealed.
The 23-minute tape, obtained by the Charlotte Observer, includes an apology by Ardrey Kell High School principal David Switzer made in August in reference to the offensive comments he made during an earlier staff meeting.
“I thought I said persons of color,” Switzer said on the recording. “That was my context. And so again, I apologize, I really do … I don’t say that ever. I don’t say the N-word either.”
One teacher said Switzer’s comment recalled images from the segregated Jim Crow South and the phrase “coloreds only,” the recording shows.
The teacher, who asked not to be identified out of fear of repercussions, said she was stunned to hear Switzer utter the phrase.
“It’s highly unacceptable,” the educator who attended both meetings told the newspaper. “It should never be tolerated.”
Switzer claimed to the paper that he made the remark while stressing the value of “cultural proficiency” training made available to teachers at the school.
Switzer, who has been the principal at the school since 2010, bought copies of a book called “The Hate U Give” for all employees over the summer.
The novel revolves around a black girl who witnesses a police shooting while attending a predominantly white school, the newspaper reports.
“If something came out of my mouth, it was not intended in any way to be a hurtful remark or insensitive or something like that,” Switzer’s mea culpa continued. “The gist that I was trying to make is just that this isn’t a white black issue, right? This is a total diverse everything issue.”
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