A 16-year-old baseball phenom has transferred from an elite New Rochelle, New York, prep school to attend his local public school in his junior year. The transfer comes after someone on the school’s staff allegedly spewed a racist statement toward him.
Local reports say Tony Humphrey was a star on the Iona Preparatory School’s baseball team. He was recruited by and has committed to playing for Boston College post-graduation.
Humphrey alleges that he signed up for the track team after his season was over and was pulled aside by an assistant athletics director he identified to local TV news station News 12 as Bernard Mahoney, who questioned why he was joining the team.
The Cortlandt native describes in detail the interaction that transpired on Friday, Nov. 19. He told the news outlet, “He comes up to me and asked why was I doing track.”
The young man shared that he wanted to improve his speed, to which the assistant athletics director responded by saying that he “gained that speed by running from the police.”
Humphrey that he believed that the statement was “racist.” He also added, “There was no reason for him to say that.”
He shared that he went home to talk to his mother about the exchange and the two immediately decided to transfer schools.
“I decided to leave, because of my current situation, as I’m already committed. I’m already going to [college],” he said adding. “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.”
“There were other instances of racism during my freshman year. I took it up with the dean, I took it up with the higher-ups, and nothing happened to the other student,” the athlete shared.
On Tuesday, Nov. 23, the students, Humphrey’s former classmates, organized a walkout over the remarks, the Rockland/ Westchester Journal News reported. Leto then addressed the student body after the schoolwide prayer service and affirmed that an investigation had been launched as soon as they were made aware of the incident.
The school’s president, Brother Thomas R. Leto, has since sent a letter to address Humphrey’s departure from the school. Inside the letter, he shared that the staff member who made the comment to the young man, which the school would not confirm was Mahoney, has resigned from his post at the school.
Adding 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’s note continued.
He then apologized, “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.”
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