Principal apologizes for using racial slur during Black History Month assembly

Posted at 8:45 AM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 08:45:25-05

LANDOVER HILLS, Md. — A principal at a private school in our state says she regrets using a racial slur during an assembly for Black History Month.

Joy Morrow is the principal of New Hope Academy, which is in Prince George's County. She says the keynote speaker for the assembly canceled, so she decided to give a speech she gave 25 years ago about what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's teachings meant to her.

She told students in grades six through 12 that she was going to use the 'n-word' to explain what she experienced growing up in what she described an all-white racist community in Dubuque, Iowa.

Morrow released the following statement to the ABC station in DC:

"First, I have never and would never use a racial slur against anyone. I was giving a personal testimony to our students in grades 6-12th of what Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings meant in my life. I informed them that I would use the N-word to illustrate, so they wouldn’t be blindsided by it. I grew up in a very racist community. I explained to the students about a comment that was made to me constantly as a young child that deeply impacted me to make me fearful of African Americans. I wanted them to understand how racism and hate is transmitted to the next generation. I also shared with them the ways I believe God worked in my life to lead me out of that dark space and into healing my soul. However, I believe that things happen for a reason, and I am trusting fully that Heaven will guide us through this course."These values of equality, celebrating diversity and living by the "Golden Rule” have always been core to our internal philosophy at New Hope Academy. I am praying that since these circumstances have presented themselves, we understand where to go from here. NHA needs to articulate these guiding truths with all the professionalism and clarity that this era requires. I am not well versed on social media or public relations, and this has proven to be to the school's disadvantage. I am deeply apologetic that anyone was made uncomfortable by my choice to use the N-word. In this era it is not appropriate, and detracted from the lesson I was trying to imparIt. I understand that the example I used to explain what I experienced as a child, how racism and hate is transmitted from one generation to another, would have been more effective had I not used the N-word. Thank God we are never too old to learn and grow. Sometimes Heaven may have needed hell to break loose so we can have conversations to bring us all to a higher level. I trust this to be so. Please keep New Hope in your prayers."

The school has since discussed the situation with students and faculty members.