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The founder of an alternative school in Georgia issued an apology Saturday after videos circulated on social media showed her making a racially-charged remark during the school's graduation ceremony.
The audience at TNT Academy's commencement ceremony on Friday became increasingly stunned as the school's founder, Nancy Gordeuk, chastised some people for leaving the event early, the video shows. Most of the audience got out of their seats after Gordeuk said: "Look who's leaving — all the black people."
It is unclear who shot the multiple versions of the video that have been shared on Twitter and Facebook. Many on the social media sites have called for Gordeuk to lose her job.
Gordeuk told NBC News that she inadvertently skipped the Valedictorian’s speech, and the crowd became disruptive when he was given the chance to deliver his remarks. "When I looked up all I saw was black families leaving, and thus the comment," she said.
"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,'" Gordeuk wrote in an apology letter. "I deeply apologize for my actions made in the emotional state of trying to let this last student finish his speech," she wrote.
TNT Academy bills itself as a "non-traditional educational center" that allows middle and high school students to pursue independent study courses that do not adhere to a regular school schedule or format. The school is accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
— Elisha Fieldstadt