The student body at a Catholic all-girls school in suburban Washington, D.C. has been sent into a shocked spiral after a former junior varsity field hockey and assistant track coach was identified as an alt-right campaigner for white nationalists under a pseudonym.
As reported by the Washington Post, students at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Md., were informed that Gregory Conte, the junior varsity field hockey coach and assistant track coach until he was fired in October, had marched in Charlottesville last August. Furthermore, Conte — who demonstrated under the assumed name Gregory Ritter — has risen to become Director of Operations for the National Policy Institute, the organization run by noted white nationalist and alt-right hate speech leader Richard Spencer.
“(Conte) has proven to be indispensable in terms of planning our demonstrations and events, coordinating them as they happen, and keeping our supporters and staff — especially our president, Richard Spencer — safe,” the National Policy Institute’s website says of the former coach.
Conte, who also served as an assistant teacher at both Holy Cross and within the Montgomery County public schools, told the Post that while he didn’t openly preach white nationalism to students at Holy Cross, he did raise, “questions about commonly held beliefs — for instance, whether all hate is bad and why diversity is good.”
Conte’s beliefs and actions are all the more distressing because of the demographic makeup of the school where he was most directly involved. Per the Post, the college-preparatory school with a population of 470 is comprised of more than 40 percent of students who identify as part of a minority race.
“(Students were) quite horrified,” Holy Cross president Kathleen Prebble told the Post. Prebble said that the school dismissed Conte as soon as the allegations of his hidden identity were brought to their attention.
“He never showed that side to us. … this was not about conservative versus liberal values. This was about extremism and this was about hate — that’s what the alt-right is about. And that this obviously was in direct opposition to our school.”