School at center of viral video clash reopens
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 1/23/19, 01:37 pm
A private Kentucky high school reopened Wednesday after closing one day earlier due to threats of violence over a viral video of a confrontation Saturday between members of its student body and Native American protesters in Washington, D.C. Administrators from the all-boys Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky., told parents they were taking extra safety measures, including a heavy police presence, as classes resumed Wednesday morning. The school also expressed support for parents who decided to keep their sons at home, saying it would “understand this viewpoint during this difficult time period.”
The students in the video were in Washington to participate in Friday’s March for Life and were waiting outside the Lincoln Memorial later that day to board buses for home when they encountered Native American activist Nathan Phillips. Clipped versions of the video seemed to show the boys mocking Phillips, but longer versions revealed a chaotic clash of protesters that began when members of the Black Hebrew Israelites religious sect started shouting racial and sexual insults at the students. The boys started school chants to drown out the slurs, an action Phillips reportedly interpreted as disrespectful to Native American culture.
Covington junior Nick Sandmann, who was face-to-face with Phillips in the video, told NBC’s Today show on Wednesday that he and his classmates had no ill will toward Phillips and that he was just trying to stay calm under the circumstances. “I respect him. I’d like to talk to him. In hindsight I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing, but I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there,” Sandmann said.
Twitter has suspended an account that helped the video go viral, saying, “Deliberate attempts to manipulate the conversation on Twitter by using misleading account information is a violation of the Twitter Rules.” The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington said it will begin an investigation of the events this week.
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Kiley is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on marriage, family, and sexuality.