John Patrick Holian: NY school headmaster resigns after making Black student, 11, kneel in 'African' punishment

The school's website released a statement which said, 'St Martin de Porres Marianist School has accepted the resignation of our former headmaster'


                            John Patrick Holian: NY school headmaster resigns after making Black student, 11, kneel in 'African' punishment
John Patrick Holian was fired from the St Martin de Porres Marianist School (Facebook)

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: John Patrick Holian, the headmaster of the Uniondale school, St Martin de Porres Marianist has resigned on Wednesday, March 24, from his post. Holian made headlines following the alleged racist punishment he meted out on a Black student who was made to kneel as part of an apology to a teacher. He had reportedly called the punishment the "African way" of expressing an apology. 

The recent development comes after a statement on the school's website. According to the New York Post, the statement read, "St Martin de Porres Marianist School has accepted the resignation of our former headmaster."

"The leadership of St Martin de Porres Marianist School continues to review the incident in question to ensure that it is never repeated again in any form. It is important to assure students, parents and faculty that this incident does not reflect our long, established value of respect for the individual or the established protocols regarding student-related issues."

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"Beginning immediately, Mrs Shawn Lisa Torres will serve as the Principal of St Martin de Porres Marianist School. Mrs Torres, a licensed clinical social worker and a certified school administrator, is an outstanding educator to lead St Martin’s going forward. Mrs Torres has a long relationship with Marianist education through her sons’ attendance at St Martin’s," the statement added.

Holian had been put on leave in the wake of the controversy. For those unaware, an incident occurred on February 25, when a 11-year-old boy told his mother that he was sent to the headmaster's office as punishment for prematurely starting work on his assignment. Holian had asked the boy to get on his knees and apologize to the teacher. He had said he learned the approach from a Nigerian father who said it was an "African Way" of expressing regret.

St. Martin de Porres Marianist School (Screengrab/ABC News)

A rally was held outside the school on Wednesday, March 24, and the mother, Trisha Paul, urged the school to take more action rather than just accept Holian's resignation, according to a WPIX report.

"I’m ecstatic that the headmaster has resigned. However, I feel it’s not enough. The teacher that was involved needs to be held accountable as well,” Paul reportedly said. The report also added there were a few who defended the former headmaster. "I’m not gonna jump on the bandwagon because I personally have a son in this school and [the headmaster is] not a racist. To me he’s been a father figure to my son," Eleanor McCay told Pix1.

Earlier, we had reported on the incident where Paul had expressed her displeasure and shock. “My son was humiliated, hurt, embarrassed, sad and confused,” Paul explained. “He reads about things happening because of your skin color. To experience it... he’s just trying to process it in his 11-year-old brain."

"I have six kids, and four boys. And if one of them is really acting rude and arrogant... I will say at times, ‘get on your knees and apologize'," Holian told Paul. “I was speaking to your son as I would my own son. I’m sorry if you’re upset."

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