February 14, 2023
The St. Hubert Catholic High School students who filmed and posted a racist video on social media last week have been expelled from the all-girls school in Northeast Philadelphia.
St. Hubert's leaders shared a message on Facebook over the weekend explaining the outcome of their investigation into the incident, which sparked tension in the community and resulted in the school adopting a virtual schedule for several days last week.
"The young women who (are) responsible for this situation have been identified and they are no longer members of this school community," principal Gina MacKenzie and school president Lizanne Pando wrote in a joint statement.
The video appeared online last Tuesday and shows at least three teens together in a room and one of the girls spray-painting another's face black.
"You're a Black girl!. Know your roots! It's February!" the student with the spray paint can says in the clip. "You're nothing but a slave." The girl being painted in blackface eventually shouts back, "I'm Black and I'm proud!"
It's unclear how many students were expelled from St. Hubert's. At least one student involved in making the video was expelled from Franklin Towne Charter Charter High School in Bridesburg last week.
In response to the video's circulation online, demonstrators went to St. Hubert's last Wednesday morning carrying signs that read "Condemn and confront white supremacy" and "Prejudices create pain."
Archdiocese of Philadelphia spokesperson Ken Gavin said the school also had received threats, which prompted the decision to shut down extracurricular activities and shift to a flexible learning schedule. Students and staff returned to the school on Monday with a visible police presence making rounds inside and outside the building at 7320 Torresdale Ave.
"We all know that the recent actions of a few do not represent who we are," Mackenzie and Pando said. "St. Hubert is a reslient community with unbridled passion for developing women of faith and integrity who will lead with love and compassion throughout their lives."
In response to the incident, St. Hubert's is working with the Anti-Defamation League to hold anti-bias workshops with faculty, staff and students. The school is also getting resources and support from the Archbishop's Commission on Racial Healing and the Office for Black Catholics.