School condemns the behaviour of students mocking elderly Indigenous protester

A group of young males from a Catholic high school in Kentucky are facing quite the social media backlash.

Videos posted online demonstrate the young males mocking an elderly Indigenous protester at a Rally located outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The video uploaded reveals one of the young students wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat standing directly in front of the elderly man while he was beating a traditional drum and chanting.

The background consists of dozens of other boys, many also wearing the same hats, surrounding the two and consistently mocking the elderly man.

The students were wearing clothing consisting of the logo on the Covington Catholic High School, which is reportedly a private boy’s high school in Park Hills, Kentucky.

The young males were attending the March for Life anti-abortion protest which so happen to coincide with the Indigenous Peoples March.

According to a post on the Covington official website, this was a scheduled school trip.

One of the protesters spoke out to the young males commenting on their age and describing their actions as “acting like a mob.”

The elderly man protesting in the video was identified as Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam war veteran and Omaha elder.

He was attending the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. according to the video posted online.

Despite the mockery portrayed by the young boys, Phillips continued his chants and drumming.

Following the situation, there was an emotional video released of Phillips speaking out about the incident.

“I heard them saying…’build that wall build that wall’…you know this is Indigenous lands, we’re not supposed to have walls here, we never did,” said Phillips.

Despite the harsh actions of the young males, Phillips spoke to the good character of him and his people by stating “I wish I could see the energy of those young men make this country really great.”

In response to the boy’s behaviour, the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School have condemned their behaviour.

The school’s website issued an apology to Mr. Phillips which states that the behaviour of the students is “opposed to the Church’s teachings and the dignity and respect of the human person."

The school has promised to investigate the matter and take appropriate action including expulsion.

The student identified as Junior Nick Sandmann who stood in front of Phillips has issued a statement declaring that that he was “only trying to calm the situation” and that he “did nothing to provoke the man.”

Yet the video of Sandmann blocking Phillips and smugly staring at him as he continued his chant and drumming gave the millions of viewers quite the different impression.

Unfortunately, facts don’t care about your feelings, as this incident is arguably the textbook definition of provocation.

We can only hope that from here on out common boundaries can be respected and such situations can be deterred.