Journalism 133: Prof. Craig: Fact Checking Exercise

Fact Checking Exercise

Numerous factual errors have been introduced into the following article, but it is based on a current real story. All spellings of names and all quoted words here are accurate, but other elements have been changed. 

Please download the Word document of this story or paste the text below into a Word document.  Next, look up and verify all information, then use Track Changes to fix all errors and rewrite the story with all errors corrected.  Email the completed assignment to me by class time Tuesday.

High school students disciplined for racist 'blackface' video 

A week into Black History Month, three Pittsburgh high school students are facing disciplinary action after a racist video recorded on school grounds surfaced on social media showing one girl smearing black face paint on another girl's face as they made racist comments.

Two of the girls in the video that began circulating online on Monday attend Oakland Catholic High School for Girls, according to Jennifer Antkowiak, Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. A third girl in the video is not a student there, he said.

Three parents of Black former students went public with stories of harassment their children faced at the school in recent years, and the school switched to flexible instruction, with students completing coursework at home, after "reactionary general threats" were made, according to administrators.

The original video, which the school became aware of on Wednesday, has been removed but screenshots and screen records have made their way across social media platforms.

In the video, a girl is seen using black face paint to color the face of another girl as she says, "You're a Black girl! You know your roots! It's February! You're nothing but a slave… and after this she's doing my laundry."

The girl with the blackface then declares: "I'm Black and I'm proud!" Other girls present laugh throughout the video.

In a Twitter post Monday, leaders of Oakland Catholic said they were aware of the video and were investigating.

"All those responsible will be disciplined appropriately in accordance with our school handbook," they said.

By Tuesday, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said the two Oakland Catholic students allegedly responsible for the video "are not present in school and are being disciplined appropriately," though they would not offer specifics. They also said one of the girls is from a Catholic high school in Pittsburgh.

Kenneth L. Huston, president of the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP, expressed in a statement Thursday his strong disappointment in the video and called on the school to "ensure action takes place immediately."

"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.

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