Fired principal defends himself after actions surrounding Confederate Era monuments

Former Principal Speaks

ALGIERS, LA (WVUE) - A former Algiers high school principal who was fired for his actions surrounding the Confederate Era monuments argued he is misunderstood and was fired because of how he was portrayed.

Last month, Crescent Leadership Academy's superintendent fired Nicholas Dean after his picture was taken near monument supporters near Lee Circle and a video and podcast of Dean expressing his opinions surfaced online.

Dean, who said he was given a "gag order" to not talk to media, said he was sent an email notifying him of his termination.

"I don't think I was wronged. I chose to do everything I did, and the consequences that happened are just what happened," Dean said Monday. "I don't believe I've done anything wrong in this, but I'll own it. I don't have any apologies for anything I've done."

Dean initially said he attended a protest at Lee Circle to witness history and was not there to take sides.

Monday, he said he attended a protest to protect New Orleans against Anti-fascists or Anti-fa from destroying the city or defacing the monuments.

"If they were going to come down to my city wreak havoc and riot, I felt it was my First Amendment duty and right to stand there at least if anything a token of resistance for the republic," he said.

In the podcast with Guerrilla Radio, the Revolutionary Conservative, the interviewer asked Dean if he was a white supremacist or member of the KKK and Dean responded, "I am not by my definition, absolutely not, but by others, most certainly".

In the video of Dean, he is wearing a German Iron Cross ring that according to the Anti-defamation League in isolation cannot be determined to be a hate symbol, but is commonly used by white supremacists.

The academy where Dean was principal has a majority African American student base.

The school's superintendent did not respond as to the exact reason for Dean's termination.

"I don't believe that my skin or my ethnicity makes me superior to anybody. If anything, I would say go look at the condition of white America and you tell me what's going on. Small towns across the country everywhere they are invested with drugs, obesity, diabetes, illiteracy. There's a massive amount of cultural problems from coast to coast that affect all races," Dean said.

But according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Dean's actions and the gear he wears send a clear message he's a part of the Alt-Right, a group the law center calls a white supremacy movement.

"The helmet and the shield is something that the Alt-Right folks have started sporting in the last several months," SPLC Director of Intelligence Heidi Beirich said. "The iron cross symbol is a different matter. That's a pretty old symbol connected to white supremacy that people have been sporting for decades."

Dean said that is not what his ring represents.

"For me, it's a representation of Christianity, and it's a cross. It's a symbol that the crusaders would have worn or would have been present all throughout the development of Western Civilization, which I value what those men and women did and built," he said.

Protecting the values of Western Civilization and culture is what those who associate with the Alt-Right claim to protect, according to Beirich.

"At the base of this argument is the idea that immigrants and others that they view as newcomers actually cannot be western in a fundamental way," she said. "It's why it's such a deeply-racist movement because you're basically saying that it's almost genetically predetermined that white people create a particular type of civilization and no one else is capable of it."

"People that know me that work in this city, that's who I am. That's who I've always been regardless of how I was portrayed," Dean said.

The former principal plans to leave New Orleans and relocate out of state. He said he understood the school's decision to move on and he said he does not have any regrets.

Dean finished the interview by addressing his former students.

"I miss you guys. I'm sorry this happened. I really wish I could have been there. You guys are awesome. Keep working and moving forward. I'll see you down the road maybe at some point."

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