A Hollidaysburg Area School District high school student playing hangman with the N-word.

johndokess/Twitter Remix by Samantha Grasso

Teen caught playing N-word hangman claims he’s not racist

The illustration also includes a Klansman and a figure on a burning cross.


Samantha Grasso


Published May 31, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 2:36 pm CDT

In a bout of racism gone viral, a Pennsylvania school district is investigating an incident in which a student was recorded playing hangman with the answer being the N-word. The video also depicts a drawing of a stick figure on a cross, which appears to be on fire, next to another stick figure in red, wearing a pointed hat.

In the video, which was taken on Snapchat and shared through Facebook and Twitter, a student fills in the blanks of a six-letter word as others laugh in the background, eventually writing the N-word in full. Above the word is the illustration of the person burning on the cross and the Klansman-like stick figure off to the side.

While the school is identified as “Altoona” in the video, the Twitter poster later clarified it was posted to Facebook by Hollidaysburg students.


According to WeAreCentralPA.com, the Hollidaysburg Area School District in Blair County, Pennsylvania, is investigating the incident involving four students. The students reportedly asked a teacher if they could go into a classroom across the hall while their class watched a movie, and played the “game.”

“The teacher had eye contact with them, was monitoring them across the hall, but naturally, she wasn’t physically in the room with them and didn’t know what they were drawing on the board,” Dr. Robert Gildea, the district superintendent, told the news station.

The Hollidaysburg Area School District is deeply disturbed by the offensive actions and related social media posting…

Posted by Hollidaysburg Area School District on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Gildea said the district isn’t planning to change “supervision policies” because of the “level of trust” teachers have with students, which the students in question violated. He also said the students involved are cooperating and “taking responsibility” for their actions, despite one of the students involved releasing a statement that they’re not racist, according to the Root:

I am genuinely sorry for my actions at school today. I’m not a racist. I have many black friends and I shouldn’t have used that word. I’m a stupid kid and I was just trying to be funny. I know now that it is not funny and I’m very sorry to anyone offended by the post. It was a dumb mistake and was only to be pointed at one person. Which he is a very good friend of mine. I have no problem with any races. I am a lover of all people. (Name removed) was the one that recorded it which I had no idea he recorded it. I’m very sorry. It was never meant to get out to the public. This isn’t right that (Name removed) 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 shouldn’t have happened at all. There was no teacher in the room. I am very sorry to the ones that I offended and everyone that is involved in this.

Two of the students involved will face consequences that will be carried into the next school year, while the district is still investigating the other two students involved.

The district will also “consider” adding tolerance training to the curriculum. If so, they might want to start with addressing the related racist KKK illustration that appears to have gone unnoticed in the district’s response to the incident. Local news coverage of the video appears to have also overlooked the illustration.

Gildea did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment regarding the illustration.

H/T the Root

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*First Published: May 31, 2018, 10:46 am CDT