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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman May 5, 2021

Biden didn’t mistake elementary students for high schoolers. He was joking

If Your Time is short

  • The headline distorts President Joe Biden’s comments. A video of Biden’s visit to Yorktown Elementary School shows he was joking when he asked a group of students if they were in 9th grade. 

A Facebook headline on an article from the website Conservative Brief suggests President Joe Biden made an embarrassing gaffe on a visit to a classroom, mistaking elementary students for high schoolers.

On Facebook, the headline appears as: "Joe Suffers Brain Fart! Biden Visits Elementary School, Asks The Children If They’re High Schoolers (VIDEO)."

On the website, the headline appears without that first sentence. But the added words on the version that appears on social media give a misleading impression of what happened in the classroom. As video of the visit makes clear, Biden was joking. 

The story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

On the website, the article appears under a label that says: "OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion." That context is not reflected in the Facebook post.

The article says: 

"Joe Biden and Jill Biden visited an elementary school in Yorktown, Virginia on Monday — and it went about as well as one might expect. Biden walked into a classroom full of masked children sitting at desks behind massive plastic partitions. The sight alone of children being fully masked and behind these jail-like plexiglass barriers is enough to enrage most Americans.

"But then Biden made matters worse when he asked the clearly young children if they were teenagers in high school."

This distorts what happened.

In a video shared on Twitter by The Hill, Biden can be heard telling students at Yorktown Elementary School, "you guys are impressive."

"This is the 9th grade, right?" Biden quips as people in the room laugh. "Oh! It seemed like 9th grade because you’re so smart."

The headline is misleading. Biden was joking, and even the young children in the audience appeared to understand that. 

We rate this False.

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Biden didn’t mistake elementary students for high schoolers. He was joking

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