Updated as of 2/15/2023 at 9:15 a.m. ET
St. Hubert’s Catholic High School announced Saturday the two students in the blackface video that went viral on social media “are no longer members of the school community,” per The Philadelphia Inquirer. The school will also begin anti-racist training for students and staff.
“We have heard, seen, and understand the very real anger, shock, disappointment, and fear you are experiencing for a variety of reasons,” read a statement from the school. “The severity of the situation at hand demanded and the repugnant nature of the behavior on the part of some of our students demanded that we swiftly conduct a thorough investigation that examined all possible facts. That process has concluded. As a result, the young women who responsible for this situation have been identified and they are no longer members of this school community.”
No known threats have been made against the school but the outrage caused the administration to take heed to possible protests by ensuring a “visible” and “active” police presence when students returned to school.
Finally, in the statement, the school will be working with the Anti-Defamation League to offer Anti-Bias Workshops for faculty and staff as well as peer-based training to help solidify their place as a “No Place for Hate” school. They have also partnered with the Archbishop’s Commission on Racial Healing and Office for Black Catholics to foster more conversations about race and restoration.
These are probably the most measures any school within the past few months has taken following a racist incident among students. Although, the fact that 11 million people witnessed the incident on social media was plenty of motivation.
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Black Parents React to the Video
One Black St. Hubert’s parent said the video was sent to her daughter and a multitude of other Black students. It’s unclear if it was the girls in the video who sent it to them. Even so, the video was posted to social media. No wonder these parents protested.
Two parents told The Inquirer their daughter’s concerns about racism at school (including racial slurs and being singled out for being Black) went ignored by the administration.
“I was paying for my child to get harassed and bullied and it’s not OK,” said Nikole Hines.
Read more from The Philadelphia Inquirier:
When Hines contacted the archdiocese, she said nothing changed. She withdrew her daughter from St. Hubert before her senior year in 2020.
Lamar Martin, another Black parent and former track coach at St. Hubert, also described a sense of futility: His daughter “felt as though there were other racist issues in the school and every time she tried to voice her opinion … they did absolutely nothing about it.”
Martin withdrew his daughter — at her request — in November.
The incident even caught the attention of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP. President Catherine Hicks made a statement denouncing the actions of the students and encouraging the school to pick up their feet in handling the situation.
Read more from CNN:
“It is extremely disheartening to have to address this, especially during the observance of Black History Month, that honors the accomplishments and rich history of black people,” the statement said.
“The video showing the egregious acts of Philadelphia Archdiocese white female students spray painting a young lady’s face black is totally unacceptable,” the statement continued. To say the act was done in jest “is not only appalling but shows us the continued cycle of racism that we are constantly fighting against.”
Previous Reporting About the Blackface Video:
A group of white Catholic school girls were called out for an absurdly racist video mocking Black people. The girls were seen putting on blackface and yelling racist remarks. Now, they’re being investigated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, per CBS News.
The video was posted to Twitter by a woman who claimed the students in the video attended St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls in Philadelphia. In the video, the girls are laughing as one douses another in black spray paint. The one holding the spray can shouts, “You’re a Black girl. Know your roots, it’s February! You’re nothing but a slave.”
Following that, the other girl, who at that point looks like she’s fallen in chimney soot, responds, “I’m Black and I’m proud!”
Two additional photos of the blackfaced girl were posted in the tweet, one with a Black History Month sticker. Following the circulation of the video, St. Hubert’s president and principal responded in a statement and confirmed three of the girls in the video were students at the school.
Read more from Fox 29 Philadelphia:
The school released a statement to the community, saying, “Earlier today, it came to our attention that a handful of our students posted images and videos on a social media platform of a racially charged nature. As a Catholic educational institution that seeks to form Women of Faith and Integrity, we view racism as a mortal sin. There is no place for it in our hearts and minds there is no tolerance for such behavior at Saint Hubert’s. We are extremely disappointed to learn that anyone associated with Saint Hubert’s would act in such a manner, which is entirely inconsistent with our values.”
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia also released a statement, saying, “Earlier this afternoon, it came to the attention of Saint Hubert School administration that a handful of its students posted images and videos on a social media platform of a racially charged nature. Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia seek to form young men and women of character. We view racism as a mortal sin. There is no place for it in our hearts and minds and there is no tolerance for such behavior at Saint Hubert’s or any Catholic School.”
There’s nothing as unsettling as discovering your white peers are so bold and unhinged about their racism. The people you have to work on projects with, sit next to at Mass or even participate in extracurriculars with could be making these disgusting videos or calling you racial slurs behind your back.
When me and a group of former students tried to approach our high school about the same issue, we were met with denial, excuses and empty promises for DEI training. This Archdiocese investigation provides hope the Black girls attending St. Hubert’s will see a different outcome. For some parents and former students, that outcome looks like expulsion or even a hate crime charge.
“We want them to know what accountability is, and what accountability looks like, and what trauma looks like when it is set upon somebody else that did nothing to you,” said protest organizer Adam McNeil, via CBS.