Students at a prep school in New Rochelle, N.Y., took action last week to support a former classmate who transferred after an athletics staff member allegedly made a racist remark to him, according to TheGrio.com.
A walkout was held by students at Iona Preparatory School on Tuesday in support of 16-year-old Tony Humphrey, a star baseball player who is also Black, who transferred after a staffer allegedly made a racist comment to him the week prior, the Journal News reported.
Humphrey told News 12 he was asked by an administrator if he got his speed from running from police.
“He comes up to me and says, ‘I thought you were already fast as it is.’ And I said ‘Oh, I am decently fast,’ and he says, ‘Oh, how did you get so fast?’ He goes, ‘Running from the cops?’ It just came out like that,” Humphrey told News 12.
The school released a statement Tuesday condemning the alleged incident as “behavior that Iona Preparatory does not condone for its students and will not accept from its faculty and staff.”
Humphrey told News 12 the comment was made by assistant athletic director Bernard Mahoney. Though the school has not confirmed the identity of the employee who is accused of making the remark, News 12 reported that administrators announced the staff member has resigned.
Humphrey, a junior at Iona, is a standout on the pitcher’s mound and in August committed to play Division I baseball at Boston College.
After Humphrey joined the school’s track team, WPIX-TV reported, the administrator asked him why he decided to take up the new sport, then made the racist comment after Humphrey replied that he was working to improve his speed during the baseball off-season.
Humphrey told WPIX-TV that he has experienced previous racist incidents during his more than two years at Iona Prep.
“There were other instances of racism during my freshman year,” Humphrey said, claiming that the school did nothing in response. “I took it up with the dean, I took it up with the higher ups, and nothing happened to the other student.”
Humphrey has left Iona — an independent, Roman Catholic, all-male, college prep school — and enrolled at the public high school near his family’s home, WPIX-TV reported.
“I decided to leave, because of my current situation, as I’m already committed. I’m already going to [college],” Humphrey said. “I don’t feel like I have to stay at a program where they’re going to look at me different, or feel uncomfortable at a place I have to go to Monday through Friday.”