May 11, 2015 8:43 AM EDT

The director of a small private school in Atlanta has apologized for singling out “all the black people” while trying to regain control of an audience during a graduation ceremony Friday night.

Nancy Guordeuk, founder and director of TNT Academy, made the remark after dismissing the audience before the final speech, and then trying to bring them back inside to listen to the speaker. “You people are being so rude to not listen to this speech,” Gordeuk told the audience, according to the video recordings. “It was my fault that we missed it in the program. Look who’s leaving — all the black people.”

Video of the ceremony shows the audience erupt in outrage at her outburst. Several black honors graduates walked off the stage in protest and cell phone video recorded by audience members has gone viral.

Gordeuk later apologized for her remarks in an email to parents. “A terrible mistake on my part of the graduation ceremony on Friday night,” Gordeuk wrote, according to local news WXIA-TV Atlanta. “The devil was in the house and came out from my mouth. I deeply apologize for my racist comment and hope that forgiveness is in your hearts.”

[WXIA-TV Atlanta]


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