Calls For Full Investigation Following Racist Incident

PEARL RIVER – A “very disturbing incident” by Pearl River High School student spectators during a varsity basketball game against Nyack High School last Wednesday “will not be tolerated under any circumstances,” Pearl River Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marco Pochintesta said in a letter to the community.

As Nyack players of color took free throws, Pearl River students could be heard making monkey noises.

Those students involved will be addressed through the district’s code of conduct. Pochintesta said the actions of those students “do not in any way represent the values and expectations of our school district or our community.”

He said that and other recent incidents of disrespect in the school community “should serve as a message to each of us to participate in creating positive change.”

Meanwhile, the Nyack Board of Education has requested a full investigation and report by Pearl River district officials and a that a request be made to Section 1 athletes to review the incident.

The Nyack Village Board has spoken up about the “sad and shameful display of racist behavior by some spectators” at the game.

Mayor Don Hammond said while the village board appreciates the Pearl River superintendent’s quick action in releasing a letter deploring the conduct, “we were disappointed that the superintendent did not extend an apology to the student-athletes involved, an apology they deserved for the way they were mistreated at the Pearl River High School.”

The mayor said the behavior “in unacceptable at any level but is particularly egregious at a scholastic event for children.”

The Nyack Village Board said it hopes the Pearl River school administration and board of ed “will look upon this as an opportunity not just to address and correct the offensive behavior, but to educate and enlighten those students and community members about the underlying causes and effects of racism in our schools and society.”

Hammond said they hope Pearl River will accept the offer from the Nyack NAACP to meet with their leadership and administration “to start an open and constructive dialogue on the incident.”

He said the incident “should serve as a wake-up call to those who question the need for ongoing efforts to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our school systems.”

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said the type of racist and reprehensible behavior displayed during Wednesday night’s high school basketball game between Pearl River and Nyack has no place in our community, and “I condemn it in the strongest terms possible. As a former youth coach myself it’s particularly disturbing to see our young people subjected to type of racist abuse.

“While the actions of a few do not define the mindset of the many it is up to our entire community to treat others with the respect we all deserve and speak out against any and all acts of intolerance”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email