The Student News Site of Heschel School




Roosevelt HS Coach and Player Dismissed After Shouting Antisemitic Rhetoric at Leffell Opponents

A girls’ Varsity basketball game on Jan. 4 between the Leffell School in Hartsdale and Roosevelt High School in Yonkers ended after the third quarter due to antisemitic remarks from Roosevelt players. An investigation of the incident was conducted by game officials, coaches, and Leffel students. After review of footage from the game and interviews with witnesses, the committee dismissed the Roosevelt coach and one player from the Roosevelt team. The investigation is still ongoing and the names of the two dismissed parties have not been made public. 

The statement concluded that “should the District determine other students were involved in the incident, further action would be taken by the school District where appropriate.”

Leffell’s Varsity team canceled their game in Yonkers on Jan. 8 as a result of the events, and it is unlikely that they will play Roosevelt again this season. 

Leffell does not play in the Yeshiva League, but ideas of joining it have been circling their halls since the Jan. 4 game; however, Leffell Student Body President Aliza Sapiro Polishook does not expect their administration to go through with it. 

“These are horrible instances, but they don’t reflect the majority of game play that we have,” said Sapiro Polishook. 

Further, the student body has handled previous antisemitic incidents in a light-hearted manner. After Bronxville High School played a Kanye song in a post promoting their match against Leffell, students reported the post and canceled the match. The Bronxville team apologized and both teams sang Havdalah after Leffell’s loss. 

In a statement condemning the incident, Yonkers Public Schools’ Interim Superintendent Luis Rodriguez and Mayor Mike Spano apologized to the Leffell students and the entire Leffell community. 

The media attention has not affected Leffell’s handling of the situation. 

“Just because we’re getting five seconds on FOX News doesn’t mean that our school would respond any differently,” said Sapiro Polishook. 

Additionally, the media has not focused as much on the Leffell school itself, but rather on the varsity player and Editor-in-Chief of Leffell’s newspaper The Lion’s Roar who wrote an Op-Ed reflecting on her experience. 

“News vans are at her house,” said Sapiro Polishook. Though they were jarring, the events have not shifted the mood at Leffell. “It wasn’t the first experience with antisemitism that we’ve faced, but it was definitely the first of its kind.”

Yonkers Public Schools are planning to administer further “counseling and guided training sessions amongst the school community to prevent this from happening again,” said officials in a joint statement.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Helios

Your donation will support the student journalists of Heschel School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Helios

Comments (0)

All Helios Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *