Covington Catholic High School closed on Tuesday over security concerns following the viral video that circulated over the weekend of students being confronted by a Native American man and African Americans at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The original reporting about the incident by many media outlets blamed the students — several of whom were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats — for the confrontation, based on a small video clip.
However, when video giving fuller context became public, it revealed the Native American man, Nathan Phillips, 64, had approached the students, who were also being jeered with racial slurs by a group calling itself Black Hebrew Israelites.
Since the incident, Covington Catholic and multiple of its students have received threats of violence, prompting the school to cancel classes.
Update: Covington Catholic High School is closed Tuesday ‘to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff,’ reads a letter to them from Principal Robert Rowe.https://t.co/n6RAxxfY5F pic.twitter.com/aMX5IOebjO
— FOX19 NOW (@FOX19) January 22, 2019
“After meeting with local authorities, we have made the decision to cancel school and be closed on Tuesday, January 22, in order to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” a letter from the school’s principal, Robert Rowe.
“All activities on campus will be cancelled for the entire day and evening. Students, parents, faculty and staff are not to be on campus for any reason. Please continue to keep the Covington Catholic Community in your prayers.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer posted a video of a “rally against racism” being held nearby at the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Covington.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers may find offensive.
One of the Native American leaders of the group offered a prayer for peace.
Covington student Nick Sandmann – who was most prominently seen the video with Phillips — denied characterizations that he was in any way denigrating the Native American man or anyone else.
“I believed by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping diffuse the situation,” Sandmann said in a statement. “I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”
Phillips did not approve of Sandmann’s statement and says the student owes him an apology, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
“I have read the statement from Nick Sandmann, the student who stared at me for a long time. He did not apologize, and I believe there are intentional falsehoods in his testimony,” Phillips said. “But I have faith that human beings can use a moment like this to find a way to gain understanding from one another.”
President Donald Trump offered his support to the students on Monday.
Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false – smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback! “New footage shows that media was wrong about teen’s encounter with Native American” @TuckerCarlson
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2019
“Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false – smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback!”
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