Virginia high school students disciplined for 'blackface' video

ISLE OF WIGHT, Va.(AP) –  A private school in southeast Virginia says three students have been disciplined for using "blackface" to depict an African-American character in a video.

Isle of Wight Academy Headmaster Benjamin Vaughn says the video was presented in a senior government class that illustrated a landmark Supreme Court case. One of the students in the video is in blackface representing an African-American woman.

The Daily Press reports that the video was made several weeks ago but came to light this week through social media.

Vaughn confirmed the video's existence and said the school "in no way condones" the actions of the students involved.

The headmaster said all three students responsible for the video were disciplined immediately after it was presented. He declined to say what the punishment entailed.

Vaughan’s full statement is below:

Many of you may be aware of the issue surrounding a senior government project. The project was to create a video explaining one of the landmark cases that has been before the Supreme Court. This particular group chose Mapp v. Ohio, a case that dealt with evidence being admissible in court cases. One of the students portrayed herself as an African-American woman, one of the principal characters in the case.
Isle of Wight Academy in no way condones the actions of the students involved in the making of the video. Disciplinary action, in line with school policy, has been taken with the students involved in the making of this video. At no time have any students been threatened with suspension or expulsion for expressing concerns regarding this video.
Isle of Wight Academy strives to provide a welcoming environment for all of its students. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Benjamin Vaughan
Headmaster, Isle of Wight Academy

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