White headmaster who made Black student kneel resigns

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The white headmaster of a New York Catholic school who made a Black student kneel as part of an apology to a teacher has resigned, the school said Wednesday.

The St. Martin de Porres Marianist school on Long Island posted a statement on its website saying it had “accepted the resignation of our former headmaster."

John Holian had been on leave in the wake of the controversy that had arisen over his handling of the punishment, which took place on Feb. 25.

The student involved, an 11-year-old boy, told his mother that he was reprimanded by a teacher after finishing his reading and starting another assignment, and that the teacher took him to Holian's office where he was told to get on his knees and apologize.

The mother called the school a few days later, and said Holian acknowledged that kneeling was not standard, but that he’d learned the approach from a Nigerian father who said it was an “African way” of apologizing.

The school said it was continuing to review the situation.