This story was updated at 5:40 p.m. Saturday.

The Southern Columbia Area School District said it was conducting an investigation after racist images and a video began circulating late Friday following its high school football championship game against Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse.

“The Southern Columbia Area School District has been made aware of allegations regarding incendiary remarks and behavior in a posted video along with signs posted at a community pep-rally,” the district said in a statement Saturday. “The Southern Columbia Area School District does not condone nor tolerate any form of racism or harassment.”

The district’s response came a day after Pittsburgh Public Schools blasted what it called “egregious and unsportsmanlike behavior” by Southern Columbia students following the PIAA Class 2A championship in Mechanicsburg.

Westinghouse, a predominantly Black high school located in Homewood, lost the game 37-22 to Southern Columbia Area High School, about an hour east of Williamsport in rural Columbia County.

After the game, Pittsburgh Public Schools said it discovered photos and videos that the district deemed to be “offensive and inappropriate.”   

“The district is aware of photos and a video circulating social media that feature Southern Columbia football players and cheerleaders displaying racial slurs, as well as offensive and inappropriate rhetoric,” district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said late Friday. “We are greatly dismayed and hurt by the images.”

In one video posted on the social media platform Tik Tok and shared with the Pittsburgh Union Progress, two young men are shown riding in a moving vehicle. Text over the video reads, “Westinghouse is gonna win states.” The man in the foreground holds his face in his hands. Laughter and ominous music plays in the background. 

After a few seconds, the young man looks up, smiles and holds a sign that appears to read PIAA 2A Football Champions. Music continues and a voice in the recording uses a racial slur, “Gotcha, n—–.”

The video was saved by a Pittsburgh resident and reposted on Facebook. Dozens of people commented, and nearly all condemned the video.

Photos from what appears to be a pep rally at Southern Columbia’s gymnasium show banners that read “Southern State of Mind” and “Whip Westinghouse,” with a drawing of a bullwhip on it.

Pugh said after the Pittsburgh Public Schools received the images and video, it reported them to the PIAA and asked for immediate action and investigation. The district will follow up with an official report in writing, she said.

“We are focused on the needs of any student impacted by the images and will be prepared to provide support to students when they return to school Monday,” Pugh said.

Southern Columbia did not specify what action may be taken against the students, but said it planned to follow its student code of conduct.

“Please know this matter is currently under investigation by the school administration and the district has full intention of upholding the code of conduct outlined within the student and extracurricular handbooks,” the district said.

Andrew writes about education and more for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Steve is a photojournalist and writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he is currently on strike and working as a Union Progress co-editor. Reach him at