The school apologized and promised to take appropriate action

Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School has apologized after multiple videos showed its students confronting Native Americans and mocking them. As per the footage from several videos, the teenage students of the school surrounded a few Native American drummers and taunted them. Most of the students in the camera frame wore shirts or hats bearing the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) lettering, and others had clothes that made references to March for Life, an anti-abortion event. Some students wore sweatshirts with the school’s name. The students were bussed to Washington from Kentucky for the event.

In one video, the teenagers clap to the drumbeat of Nathan Phillips, a veteran of the Vietnam war and an Omaha elder. The moment, however, swiftly transforms into one of confrontation as the teenagers start to mock the senior American by shouting a false Native American chant uttered by sports teams like the Atlanta Braves. The crowd cheered. One teenager, wearing a MAGA hat, stands in the direct eye-line of Philips. The teenager grins and stares at the American Indian. Things went quickly more south as Phillips’ companions grew increasingly angry as the crowd surrounded them. One woman was even heard to shout at the teenagers, accusing them of acting like a mob.

The Covington School authorities were quick to comprehend the gravity of the situation and released a carefully worded joint statement with the local Roman Catholic Diocese on the afternoon of January 19. The statement condemned the behavior of its students and made special mention of Nathan Phillips, along with Native Americans. It apologized to the Vietnam veteran and made it clear that it does not support such behavior. It assured the reader that the school would consider taking all appropriate action, including expulsion from the school. The concluding part of the statement stated that the educational institution is aware of such an event tainting the pro-life movement and specifically this March for Life event.

Nick Sandmann, the Catholic student who insolently stared down Phillips, said in a statement posted online on January 20 that his actions were part of his effort to defuse a tensed situation. The student quoted his Catholic faith and mentioned that he tries to live the faith’s ideals, which includes being respectful towards others and desist from any action which may result in conflict or violence.

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