Parents are raising concerns about the actions of St. Martin de Porres Marianist School Headmaster John Holian after he reportedly made a Black student kneel before him as they apologized. The incident in question took place on February 25. A Black student was reprimanded for working on the wrong assignment in class and sent to Holian's office. After arriving in the office, the student was made to apologize the "African Way." This apology included the student kneeling before a white educator and looking up to him as he expressed regret for doing educational work at school.
Following the incident, the student's parent, Trisha Paul, called the school seeking more information about why and how this situation took place. Holian said that he learned the "African Way" of apologizing from the Nigerian parent of a former student.
"This father came in and said, 'you're going to apologize to this teacher the African way, and you're going to get down on your knees and apologize,'" he reportedly told Paul.
Holian has been placed on leave as the school investigates his actions and determines what disciplinary actions he will face. St. Martin de Porres Marianist School says that Holian's actions are "not consistent with the policies and philosophy of St. Martin's."
"We have launched an internal review of the incident and restated in the clearest terms what is the established and approved practice for student-faculty interaction," a letter sent to parents read.
Paul has said that her son is still shaken by the incident. She added that he has also been incredibly reserved in the weeks since the incident took place.
“My son was humiliated, hurt, embarrassed, sad and confused,” Paul told NBC New York.
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