Nearly two weeks after video went viral of an assistant principal at a Texas high school dropping the n-word, the administrator has now been terminated following an investigation.
Denton High School was rocked on April 26 when Howard Palmer was caught on video repeatedly using the racial slur during a meeting with a parent, who explained that his use of the term is not OK.
As the school district’s human resources department looked into the matter, a spokesperson for Denton Independent School District told the Denton Record-Chronicle Palmer has been on leave since April 27.
“He’s not been on campus in well over a week,” said Julie Zwahr on May 6, adding that she and another spokesperson for the district, Derrick Jackson, had not seen the recording in question for themselves.
“All we know is that if something like that is out there, that’s not what we’re about, so I don’t know that it’s important that we watch the video,” Zwahr said.
But by Tuesday, May 7, the investigation concluded and Palmer was terminated from his position, Zwahr told the newspaper.
“Mr. Palmer will not return to the district,” she said in an email Wednesday morning.
It is not immediately clear under what terms Palmer left his position.
The controversial clip contains audio of an interaction with a Black parent, whose Facebook name is Prince Njoku, asking to know whether or not Palmer told a Black student to “turn that n—-r music off.”
“I’ll tell you my exact words,” Palmer replies. “I said, ‘turn the music down. I don’t want to hear the word n—-r in my office. Those were my exact words.”
Palmer denied uttering the slur, which the parent’s daughter, LaTasia Woodard, is heard disputing.
“That word shouldn’t even be coming out of your mouth, Mr. Palmer,” Njoku says. “There’s no explanation. You want me to be fine with you using that expletive to a student. A student was obviously upset because he told another student.”
Woodard said her friend Monte, who was in Palmer’s office facing discipline for going off campus for lunch without permission, was the one who was demanded by Palmer to turn off his music. She said the assistant principal used the expletive in the process, describing what he heard as, “n—er music.”
Upon hearing what happened, Woodard asked Palmer herself if it was true.
“That’s when I came down here because I was outraged that a word like that would come out of your mouth, a person in a position of power in this school,” Woodard says in the video.
Njoku said on Facebook at the time that he has “filed a formal complaint with the school” and advised parents of Black children who attended Denton High to be “very cautious when dealing with him.”
Following Palmer’s administrative leave, Njoku said he spoke with Jackson, one of the spokespeople for the school district. He told the Record-Chronicle that he was informed the district would be taking the incident seriously, specifically since an administrator is involved.
Additionally, the parent said he eventually got in touch with Area Superintendent Daniel Lopez, who requested a copy of the viral video as they spoke on the phone. Allegedly, Lopez said it was needed to wrap up the HR probe.