Catholic headmaster reportedly told an 11-year-old Black student to apologize to a teacher the ‘African way’ by kneeling
A Catholic school headmaster is said to have asked a Black student to kneel and apologize.
John Holian from the St. Martin de Porres Marianist school in Long Island reportedly told the 11-year-old boy to apologize to his teacher ‘the African way.’
He told the child’s mother – a Haitian-American – he learned this from a Nigerian father.
According to the New York Daily News, the boy’s mother Trisha Paul said:
“Once he started mentioning this African family, that’s when it just clicked. Like, this is not normal procedure. I felt there was no relevance at all. Is he generalising that everyone who is Black is African? That’s when I realised something is not right with this situation.”
A white Long Island Catholic school headmaster forced a Black 11-year-old student to kneel down and apologize to a teacher — calling it the “African way” to say sorry.
The mother was shocked when the headmaster said he learned it from a Nigerian father.https://t.co/NJhUibQ21j
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 21, 2021
Responding to the situation, Holian said ‘we love our students here’ and added that the ‘vast majority’ of pupils were ‘students of colour.’
But despite this, he was put on temporary leave. An investigation is also underway.
In an email, headmaster James Conway wrote:
“I want to assure you that St. Martin’s neither condones nor accepts the actions of our headmaster. The incident does not reflect our long, established values or the established protocols regarding student related issues.”
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) March 21, 2021
The boy was reportedly reprimanded for working on an incorrect assignment, which triggered the headmaster’s order.
And while, according to Holian, the pupil was also ‘disrespectful and rude’ to a teacher, Paul couldn’t see why this sort of unusual apology was required, especially since she wasn’t given a straight answer.
He went on to say that he was just trying to speak to the boy as he would speak to his own and apologized for upsetting the mother.
“He showed no remorse until he realised how it’s impacted my son. He’s going to therapy. He’s been very reserved and humiliated.”
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