UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The headmaster of a Long Island school has resigned following a racism allegation from a parent.
WCBS-TV spoke with Trisha Paul earlier this week. She said John Holian, headmaster at St. Martin de Porres Marianist School, told her 11-year-old son, who is Black, to get on his knees while apologizing to his white teacher. It’s an act the mother believes is racist.
“He stated that he should apologize the African or the Nigerian way, which was to kneel down,” Trisha Paul told WCBS-TV’s Kiran Dhillon on Sunday. “He’s hurt, humiliated, sad disappointed. He’s just going through a lot of the emotions now.”
She said Holian told her he learned about the ritual from a Nigerian family whose child used to go to the school.
“There was an African father who came in and told their child to apologize the Nigerian or African way. That’s when it dawned upon me that maybe he generalized my child because he was Black,” Paul said.
The Haitian-American mom said she asked the headmaster whether the act was standard practice and was told this was the first time a student had been asked to kneel while making an apology. “My son is not African. You generalize everyone because they’re Black? You just assume that my child is Nigerian? It was done simply because he was Black,” Paul said.
Holian was placed on leave prior to his resignation. St. Martin de Porres Marianist School said it will continue to review the incident to make sure it never happens again..
Paul said her son remains confused by what happened. For now, she has pulled him out of in-person learning.