This “Harlem Shake” video got a high school class suspended

The Harlem Shake has claimed another victim: a Brownsville, Pennsylvania, high school class, suspended for this "graphic" and "vulgar" video.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Feb 20, 2013   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 12:06 am CDT

The Harlem Shake has claimed another victim.

Thirteen students at Brownsville Area High School in Pennsylvania were suspended for two days each after making a Harlem Shake video in one of the classrooms during school hours, ABC affiliate WTAE reported.

The suspension came just days after a New York high school hockey team was forced to forfeit their spot in the playoffs when its NSFW Harlem Shake video surfaced online.

The Brownsville School Board was made aware of the video, which was shot Monday, at a planning session Tuesday night, which School Board President Roy Brashear described as “very graphic and very vulgar.” (It isn’t as graphic as this one, we guarantee.)

“Our superintendent made a decision to suspend the students who were responsible, and we stand behind his decision,” Brashear told

The students shot the video during a digital photography class with the permission of a substitute teacher, and it features them dancing with each other and on top of tables once everyone gets involved.

As far as Harlem Shake videos go, this one is pretty tame. Unlike many of the videos which have already appeared online, only one person is masked and dancing with a stick. The video is missing the crazy costumes, sleeping bag, masks, and there is certainly nobody dancing while wearing nothing more than a sock.

Alyssa Broadwater, 15, shot the video with her iPad and described the behavior in the Harlem Shake video as “normal teenagers dancing.” She found out that she was suspended after being pulled out of homeroom, but she wasn’t given an explanation.

“I could see if we got in a bit of trouble, since it was in school and a little chaotic, but it was taken too far,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa’s mother, Kathleen Broadwater, agreed that the punishment was too harsh for the crime.

“We need to keep these students in the classroom,” Kathleen told WTAE. “I don’t want them taken out of class to miss the education they’re getting. Can we please get them back to school, either ISS or some kind of detention?”

Some parents agreed with the punishment, citing that the students shouldn’t have done the Harlem Shake video during school hours.

Brownsville Area Solicitor James Davis told reporters that the school district “can’t comment on student discipline without parent authorization” and couldn’t legally offer details on the students’ suspension.

Others are tweeting out support to the Harlem Shake 13 by using the hashtag #TeamHarlemSuspension, and while the students may be out of school for the next couple days, they don’t seem to regret their actions.

“At least I was suspended for something I ENJOYED doing,” @_Whit_Booh tweeted.

Photo via TheLovegurl844/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 20, 2013, 5:01 pm CST