Walkout staged at NY prep school after racist comment from staffer

Black student athlete Tony Humphrey said he withdrew from Iona Preparatory School in New York after administrator Bernard Mahoney asked him if "running from the cops" helped improve his speed

Students at Iona Preparatory School in New York state walked out of class on Tuesday in support of a Black student who transferred after a staffer allegedly directed a racist remark at him the previous week, The Journal News reported.

Tony Humphrey, a 16-year-old star baseball player at the New Rochelle, NY private school, told News 12 he was asked by an administrator if he got his speed from running away from police officers.

“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,” recalled Humphrey, who is Black.

Per the Journal, school president Brother Thomas R. Leto of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, who run the high school, released a statement Tuesday morning 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 asisstant athletic director Bernard Mahoney; and while the school is yet to confirm the identity of the accused employee, administrators have announced the staffer has resigned.

“One of the most important aspects of our school community — the acceptance and respect of every student — has been infringed upon,” Leto said in Tuesday’s statement, the Journal reported. “On behalf of the administration and staff, I am deeply sorry to this student and those most offended and negatively impacted.”

“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. 

School spokesperson Alex Malecki declined to comment further on the remark when asked by the Journal.

Tony Humphrey (Twitter via RawStory)

Humphrey, a junior at Iona, is a standout on the pitcher’s mound and recently 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 — and made the racist comment after Humphrey replied that he sought to improve his speed during the baseball off-season.

The Cortlandt, New York resident told the outlet that he has experienced previous racist incidences during his roughly two-and-a-half years at Iona Prep.

“There were other instances of racism during my freshman year,” he told WPIX, 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.”

Per WPIX, the talented teen has decided to enroll at the public high school near his family’s home.

“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.”

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