The white headmaster of a Long Island Catholic school has now resigned after telling a Black student to kneel and apologize.
According to the New York Daily News, officials from the St. Martin de Porres Marianist school in Uniondale said in a letter to parents and the administration that John Holian had “accepted the resignation of our former headmaster.”
Holian had been on leave since March 20.
A protest was scheduled outside of the school on March 24. All classes were canceled.
The school also stated in the letter to parents, “The leadership of St. Martin de Porres Marianist School continues to review the incident in question to ensure that it is never repeated again in any form. It is important to assure students, parents, and faculty that this incident does not reflect our long, established value of respect for the individual or the established protocols regarding student-related issues.”
The incident happened on Feb. 25 at St. Martin de Porres Marianist school, where Trisha Paul’s son was punished for working on the wrong assignment in class. The sixth-grader was taken to headmaster John Holian office and told to get on his knees and apologize to the teacher.
Holian’s explanation was that kneeling is the “African way” to say sorry, Paul said, according to the New York Daily News. The headmaster claimed that he learned that punishment from a Nigerian father of a former student.
“Once he started mentioning this African family, that’s when it just clicked,” said Trisha Paul. “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.”
After it was announced that Hollian was fired, Paul told The New York Daily News, “Honestly I’m still awaiting an apology from the school. I honestly feel like it’s to uphold their image, it’s not to acknowledge what was done and correct it.”
The school has not made additional statements.