In SummaryStudents at Iona Preparatory School in in New Rochelle, New York staged a brief walkout due to a staff member making a racially insensitive remark towards a student in November 2021.
A brief schoolwide walkout took place after a staffer told a student-athlete “[He] gained that speed by running from the police.”
The walkout took place in late November, which led to the employee, who was not identified by the school, to resign.
The unnamed administrator was reportedly the assistant athletic director.
Iona Prep is run by the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, whose president is Brother Thomas R. Leto. He was informed of the comment late November and told the students an investigation was launched into the incident after a schoolwide prayer.
In a statement, Leto said the alleged racist comment is “behavior that Iona Preparatory does not condone for its students and will not accept from its faculty and staff.”
“One of the most important aspects of our school community—the acceptance and respect of every student—has been infringed upon,” Leto said in the statement. “On behalf of the administration and staff, I am deeply sorry to this student and those most offended and negatively impacted.”
The student, Tony Humphrey, 16, said the former administrator came up to him and asked why he was participating in track. Humphrey, who is a Black baseball player committed to Boston College University, said his goal was simply to become faster.
“It never hurts to gain speed,” Humphrey said, but added the assistant AD said he gained that speed by running from the police.
“That was racist,” Humphrey said. “There was no reason for him to say that.”
Humphrey told his mother about the incident and she withdrew her son from Iona Prep to a public high school near his family’s home.
“We remain fully committed to being an open, welcoming, embracing and nurturing community, where every young man holds a special place in the brotherhood of Iona men,” Leto concluded in his statement.