McFarland High School associate principal resigns after use of slur

MCFARLAND, Wis. – Officials from the McFarland school board announced they would be accepting the resignation of the high school’s associate principal following her use of a racial slur.

In her resignation letter to the McFarland School Board, former administrator Anne Nichols wrote that she said the full ‘n word’ while asking a clarifying question when one student brought a concern that another student had said the word to them.

“While I immediately recognized my mistake and apologized, I acknowledge the impact that hearing this word can have,” Nichols wrote. “I know there are inaccurate rumors being shared regarding what occurred, and I want to be clear that in my 33 years of education, I have never used a racial slur against a student or any other human being.”

Nichols also went on to add that she is disappointed the situation had turned into what it did, and that she has nothing but compassion for all who were impacted.

Following the incident on September 13, McFarland superintendent Aaron Tarnutzer sent a message to the school community stating the district had addressed the matter with the students and staff members involved and could not comment further on the matter.

By the end of that month, an online petition emerged calling for Nichols, who also served as the district’s Equity Coordinator, to be fired. The petition later gained more the 600 signatures.

On Tuesday, district officials said Nichols’ resignation, effective immediately from both positions, was accepted during the McFarland School Board meeting Monday night.

In an email shared with district families, staff, and high school students, Tarnutzer said the district would continue to support the staff and students they know were affected by the situation.

He said since the incident occurred, McFarland students and families have taken the time to share their experiences and offer insight into how the district can improve to better serve students of color.

“We have learned so much and we are using this information to develop a plan with specific steps to address these issues while building upon our existing plan,” Tarnutzer said.  “We will continue to collaborate with students and staff to ensure that these efforts have the impact they need to have for our students.”

The district has plans to hire an Interim Associate Principal for the remainder of the 2022-23 school year and a long-term replacement in the spring. Tarnutzer said the district is also exploring options for a long-term equity leader in the following year.