update deskAntisemitism

Yonkers Public Schools fires coach, kicks player off team over Jew-hatred 

The district didn’t name the basketball player or the coach in announcing the results of its “thorough review.”

A basketball referee holds a ball during a timeout, in a stock photo. Credit: Ron Alvey/Shutterstock.
A basketball referee holds a ball during a timeout, in a stock photo. Credit: Ron Alvey/Shutterstock.

The fourth-largest school district in New York, Yonkers Public Schools, announced on Monday that it has fired a high school basketball coach and kicked a student-athlete off the team at Roosevelt High School following an antisemitic incident at a Jan. 4 game.

During that game, a student at the public school told a player from the Leffell School, a private Jewish day school in Hartsdale, N.Y., “I support Hamas, you f**king Jew.”

“The Yonkers Public Schools along with the City of Yonkers sincerely apologize to the students and community of The Leffell School for the painful and offensive comments made to their women’s basketball team during a recent game with Roosevelt High School-Early College Studies,” Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Luis Rodriquez, interim superintendent of the school district, announced jointly.

“Collectively, we do not and will not tolerate hate speech of any kind from our students and community. The antisemitic rhetoric reportedly made against the student-athletes of The Leffell School are abhorrent, inappropriate and not in line with the values we set forth for our young people,” the two added.

Spano and Rodriquez added that the coach and a Roosevelt player were “dismissed” following “a thorough review of videos taken at the game and interviews with those who witnessed the incident.” They did not name the coach or the student.

“The investigation is ongoing,” they added. “Should the district determine other students were involved in the incident, further action would be taken by the school district where appropriate.”

Ted Deutch, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, wrote that the incident “goes well past poor sportsmanship.”

“This is antisemitism and hate, plain and simple,” said. “What is particularly concerning is that this incident involved high-schoolers—our youth. We have a responsibility to this generation to uphold the values of respect and tolerance.”

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