The white headmaster of a $15,000-a-year Long Island Catholic school forced an 11-year-old black student to kneel down and apologize to a teacher because doing so was the ‘African way’ to seek forgiveness, it has been alleged
On February 25, Headmaster John Holian of the St. Martin de Porres Marianist school in Long Island told Trisha Paul’s 11-year-old son, Trayson, to apologize to a teacher the “African way,” which he claimed to have learned from a Nigerian father, according to the Daily News.
That day, Trayson had completed his in-class reading early and began working on another assignment. His English teacher noticed and called him out on it, Paul told the Daily News.
The teacher allegedly tore up the assignment and escorted him to Holian’s office, where the headmaster told Trayson to drop to his knees, the Daily News reported.
Trayson relayed the incident to his mom, prompting Paul to ask Holian whether telling students to kneel in apology was standard practice at the school, the report said.
That’s when Holian told her it wasn’t but that he had learned it from a former student’s Nigerian father, the Daily News reported.
“Once he started mentioning this African family, that’s when it just clicked,” Paul told the Daily News. “Like, this is not normal procedure. I felt there was no relevance at all. Is he generalizing that everyone who is Black is African? That’s when I realized something is not right with this situation.”
On Friday, school officials sent an email to parents informing them that Holian was placed on temporary leave while the matter is being investigated.
While Paul said that placing Holian on leave is a ‘step in the right direction,’ the school needs to do more.
She has reportedly hired a lawyer.
‘What else can happen where it doesn’t occur again to any other African-American or Haitian-American students there?’ she asked.