- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2015

The white director of a Georgia school has apologized after a video circulating on social media showed her scolding “all the black people” who left during the valedictorian’s speech at a graduation ceremony.

Nancy Gordeuk, founder and director of TNT Academy in Stone Mountain, made the comments Friday as she tried to get graduates and their families to stay seated after accidentally dismissing them before the class valedictorian’s speech, the Associated Press reported.

“You people are being so rude to not listen to this speech,” Ms. Gordeuk angrily tells the audience in a video posted to social media. “It was my fault that we missed it in the program. Look who’s leaving — all the black people.”

The comment caused an uproar in the audience and several black honors graduates appear to walk off the stage in protest.

CNN interviewed two attendees at the ceremony who said Ms. Gordeuk created a hostile environment long before the offending remark.

Linda Haywood, whose son arrived at the TNT Academy in October, said it “felt more like a roast than a graduation ceremony” and started to get particularly uncomfortable after Ms. Gordeuk told the audience to silence crying babies or leave.

Suzette Walden Cole, whose nephew was graduating, remembers Ms. Gordeuk’s words more vividly, CNN reported.

“If you have babies, you either need to tape their mouths shut or get them out of here. This is no place for babies. Get them out of here,” she recalled Ms. Gordeuk as saying.

The two women said the event got increasingly awkward when Ms. Gordeuk decided to offer individual commentary about each student receiving his or her diploma.

In an email to CNN, Ms. Gordeuk apologized for her “offensive comment” about black people.

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

The TNT Academy website describes the school as a college preparatory program that provides credits for a high school diploma through independent study, CNN reported.

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