Pearl River students accused of making racist taunts again

Once again Pearl River students are accused of racist behavior towards Nyack students during an athletic event, this time it happened during a recent track meet

News 12 Staff

May 19, 2022, 9:30 AM

Updated 729 days ago


For the second time in several months, a racist incident has occurred between the same two Hudson Valley schools.
Once again Pearl River students are accused of racist behavior towards Nyack students during an athletic event, this time it happened during a recent track meet.
While not detailing exactly what was said or done, school officials from both districts have released statements.
Pearl River School Superintendent Dr. Marco Pochintesta sent out a letter saying they have identified the students involved in making "anti-Black remarks during this month's event and those actions have led to serious consequences for the students."
Nyack School Superintendent Eudes S. Budhai also sent out a letter stating "the district is pressing for expedited action and accountability from the Pearl River School District while exploring all legal recourse possible to safeguard athletes from any future acts of racism and emotional harm.
Budhai says the young man is brave and can't understand why anyone would want to engage in such inappropriate language with him. He says the staff is there to help the student with anything he needs.
"We're Nyack strong and when things like this happen to any of our children, we all come together in that kind of supportive way," says Budhai.
In February, Pearl River students were caught on video making monkey noises at a Black player from Nyack during a basketball game.
Nyack school officials also say they are looking at any options available to them through the state's high school athletic association.
Pearl River school officials say they are also forming an Equity Task Force to address the issues.
"There is such a plethora of children at both schools from different parts of the world. And I'm just shocked, really shocked that this is going on today," says Mary Ryan, of Nyack.
Nicole Hines, who leads the Nyack chapter of the NAACP, says she is not surprised, especially after the incident that happened Feb. 9. Hines does have some suggestions for school officials.
"If Pearl River pulls their students from playing in any other games, then I think that would make a strong stance," says Hines.
Regional Director of the NAACP Mid-Hudson/Westchester chapter Wilbur Aldridge says any task force that is formed to deal with the matter must have people of color as part of it.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day also released a statement saying, "I'm very disappointed to learn that more racist taunts were made during a school track meet, and I strongly condemn this appalling behavior which has no place in our community. I urge the school district to hold these individuals accountable."
The Office of Section One issued a statement regarding recent incidents that reads in part, "On behalf of its member schools, Section One is alarmed and deeply concerned by the repeated actions of hate and discrimination that have been reported. It is the expectation of all of our member schools that they provide a welcoming and affirming environment for all student-athletes, coaches, and staff. The Section One Athletic Council and Executive Committee will continue to monitor the situation and stand ready to support both the Nyack and Pearl River School Districts. Incidents such as these underscore the importance of our ongoing development of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and initiatives, including the implementation of educational opportunities for all of our member schools."

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