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NY Post
New York Post
6 Jan 2024

NextImg:NY girls’ HS basketball game canceled after antisemitic slurs hurled at players

This was flagrant and foul.

A high school girls’ basketball game in Yonkers was canceled this week when players on the home team shot antisemitic slurs at their Jewish opponents, who needed security guards to escort them off the court to safety.

The girl’s varsity teams from The Leffell School, a private Jewish school in Hartsdale, and Roosevelt High School, a public school in Yonkers, faced off in the non-league game Thursday evening.

“I support Hamas, you f–king Jew,” a Roosevelt player snarled at a Leffell opponent, according to The New York City Public Schools Alliance, a group of parents and teachers fighting antisemitism.

From the outset, there was hostility and aggression with “substantially more jabs and comments thrown at the players on our team than what I have experienced in the past,” senior player Robin Bosworth wrote in an op-ed for Leffell’s student-run newspaper, The Lion’s Roar.

At the end of the third quarter, her teammates were getting injured by the rough plays, and “players on the opposing team started shouting ‘Free Palestine’ and other antisemitic slurs and curses at us,” wrote Bosworth, also editor-in-chief of the school paper.

Lions coach John Tessitore consulted with his players and they were escorted off the court by security. Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News / USA TODAY NETWORK

“I have played a sport every athletic season throughout my high school career, and I have never experienced this kind of hatred directed at one of my teams before,” Bosworth said.

“Instead of responding to hatred with more of the same, we chose to separate ourselves from the situation and leave with dignity and pride in who we are and what we believe in,” she continued.

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Lion’s head coach John Tessitore consulted with his squad and decided to end the game, according to Michael Kay, Leffell’s head of school.

“Our team was playing on the road, and during the course of the game, a small number of players on the opposing team directed hurtful, antisemitic comments toward members of our team,” Kay wrote in a letter to the school community.

Students at the $ 45,000-a-year private day school were shocked by the on-court hate.

“This is my school and it’s just unacceptable and some of the things they said to my teammates are very disgusting,” one student wrote on the NYCPS Alliance post.

Kay said that Roosevelt’s athletic director Kyle Calabro has since apologized and said “the follow-up would be swift and appropriate.”

On Friday, Roosevelt principal Edward DeChent also apologized to Kay and described the “investigative steps” that had been taken and “outlined a number of disciplinary consequences and educational responses” including the possibility of an in-person meeting between both teams.

“I am incredibly proud of the manner in which our players and coaching staff responded to this potentially harrowing incident,” Kay said.

A spokesman for the Yonkers Public Schools district downplayed the shocking behavior.

Screenshot of outside of The Leffell School building.
The Leffell School is a K–12 private, co-educational, Jewish day school with locations in Hartsdale and White Plains.

“It has come to our attention that a student-athlete made a statement involving ‘free Palestine,'” the district said. “This incident was promptly addressed in line with our district’s policies and values.”