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Pennsylvania Teens Giggling as Classmate Spells Out Racial Slur During Hangman Game Say They’re Receiving Death Threats

Pennsylvania’s Hollidaysburg Area School District is investigating after a racially insensitive video posted by a group of students circulated on social media this week.

The clip in question shows a portion of a hangman game played by students at Altoona Area High School, in which students snicker and giggle as their classmate completes the puzzle to spell out the n-word. Their classroom game also featured an image of the so-called “hangman” on what appeared to be a burning cross.

“How does the school even let something like that fly or happen?” one student commented on Facebook. “Truly disgusted. Anyone who knows who’s in the video or had anything to do with it, report it to the school.”

Another student, Daysia Cuff, shared a screenshot of the video and identified one of the students responsible as Trenton Beck. School officials haven’t released the names of the students involved, however.

“… If by chance there are repercussions, (be sure) it’s given to the right people,” Cuff wrote.

According to local station WTAJ, the incident unfolded Tuesday when four underclassmen were allowed to go into a classroom across the hall while the rest of their class watched a movie. That’s when the teens allegedly filmed the game of hangman featuring the racial slur.

District superintendent Dr. Bob Gildea said the teacher had eye contact with the students and was monitoring them from across the hall, but could not see what they were drawing on the board.

“We have been in contact with local law enforcement and swift and appropriate action will be imposed on those responsible,” Gildea said in a statement addressing the controversy. “This behavior is an embarrassment to our students, staff and community and we sincerely apologize for all who are offended by the abhorrent behavior of those involved.”

Two of the students involved are expected to face disciplinary action while the district and police investigate the involvement of the other two students. Hollidaysburg District officials say they’re also considering adding tolerance training to the curriculum, as well as starting a parent-student group to discuss racial diversity, WTAJ reported.

The superintendent said he hopes this situation is an isolated incident.

Two of the students involved said they’ve received death threats over the incident. In a now-deleted Facebook post, one of the students apologized for the actions of he and his friends and insisted he isn’t a racist.

“I’m very sorry. It was never meant to get out to the public,” he wrote, according to the Altoona Mirror. “This isn’t right that (redacted) and I are getting death threats … I have realized how big I messed up. I am friends with tons of Black people, and I work with a bunch. This has gotten out of hand and should not have happened at all.

“There was no teacher in the room,” he added. “I am very sorry to the ones that I offended and everyone that is involved in this.”

Exactly how the students will be disciplined remains a mystery but Gildea said the punishments will most certainly “carry into the next school year.”

“Students really need to realize the damage that can be done, not just to other people who are offended or affected by their actions, but also to their own personal future because things that are posted on the internet don’t go away,” the superintendent said.

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