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The case of an Edgewood Town Court reporter under investigation for racist speech in the workplace highlights a need for the Race, Equity and Inclusion Workgroup featured in the June 29 edition of The Herald Bulletin.

Founded by Judge George Pancol, the group focuses on addressing systemic racism in public policy, with a particular focus in the county’s justice system.

An Edgewood court reporter was recently placed on administrative leave for allegations of using racist language in reference to deputy prosecutor Rosemary Khoury. The Indiana Supreme Court is investigating the allegations.

Edgewood Judge Scott Norrick said he received conflicting reports of what was said by the employee, but one thing that should not be in conflict is the seriousness of these allegations.

A thorough investigation, even if the allegations are unsupported, sends a message that racism has no place in our courts. Racist speech by someone employed by the court is not only unprofessional and immoral, but it also undermines confidence in that court’s commitment to impartial justice.

If evidence supports the allegations, then the incident points to a much bigger problem. An employee using racist language at work indicates that the work environment is one in which he or she feels comfortable speaking that way.

Racism should be unacceptable in any workplace but particularly so in our justice system. The Edgewood court has a prime opportunity to take advantage of the services of the diversity workgroup and create a culture that sends a clear message that hate has no home here.

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