Convington Catholic students conflict with Native American veteran

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Convington Catholic students conflict with Native American veteran

Yasmin Vizguerra, Reporter

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A viral video that was all over social media sparked controversy as it showed Catholic high school students clashing with a Native American veteran trying to pass through the massive crowd of them.

     The first video that came out was the most viral one that showed a boy wearing MAGA gear as he mocked the veteran who was playing drums, his friends also mocking him in their MAGA gear behind him.

     As the video started to circulate with another lengthier video showing them laughing and making fun of it all, people said the boys were harassing the elder who was there for the Indigenous Peoples’ March.

     All the students were identified as those from Covington Catholic High School from Kentucky.

     The veteran, Nathan Phillips, 64, spoke with many publications in saying he was simply trying to diffuse a tense situation between the teens and another group, the Black Hebrew Israelites.

     As more information and more videos began to come out, the student that was at the center of it all, Nick Sandmann came forward.

     Longer videos showed the group of Israelites taunting the boys as they chanted and even more so when Phillips entered the scene.

     The first one-minute video showed Sandmann smirking and students chanting as Phillips tried to pass through playing the drums.

     Phillips said he found himself in an “ugly situation” and decided to “use the drum, use our prayer, and bring a balance, bring a calming to the situation,” Phillips told the Washington Post: “that guy stood in my way, and we were at an impasse,” referring to Sandmann, and said he thought of his deceased wife as he chanted.

     Jon Stegenga, a photojournalist present, said the boys were chanting “build that wall” and “Trump 2020,” although none of those are heard in the videos.

     Videos also show the boys doing a “Tomahawk chop” around Phillips and also said “go back to Africa.”

     “What those students did in those videos showed the disrespect and racism towards the veteran and shows just how they can get away with it,” said Mariana Cardoso (‘19).

     Sandmann, in a released statement, said he “did not witness or hear any students chant ‘build the wall’ or anything hateful or racist at any time.”

     He said the students had asked for permission to “begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group.”

     In an interview with the Today show, he denied any charges of racism against him or his classmates and said, “We’re a Catholic school, and it’s not tolerated. They don’t tolerate racism, and none of my classmates are racist people.”

     A Hebrew Israelite, Ephraim Israel, said that they mocked him as he tried to teach the group he was with before he said they did turn on them for saying that.

    “I explained to them, you want to build a wall for Mexicans and other Indigenous people, but you’ve never seen a black or Mexican shoot up a school.”

     One of the chaperones that was with the group of MAGA kids said that the students were targeted for “what they stood for” and for the color of their skin.

     Robby Soave, a staff editor for Reason, said the boys were calm and restrained from being racist or homophobic until the group of Black Hebrew Israelites targeted them.

     “I don’t think that with what was claimed that they were calm and weren’t racist is even true, they’re wearing MAGA gear, all of them, and they’re all white, it’s clear through the videos that what they kept denying is the truth,” said Madeline Gierzynski (‘20).

     Trump weighed in on the situation via Twitter saying:  “looking like the Nick Sandmann and Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgments that proved to be false.”

     Phillips, after his Today interview said: “even though I’m angry, I still have that forgiveness in my heart for those students.”


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