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Covington Catholic could expel students who taunted Native American man in viral video

The Kentucky high school students seen in a video showing a confrontation between them and a Native American man at a march in Washington, D.C., could be expelled.

Covington Catholic High School and the Diocese of Covington said Saturday that they are investigating the incident that happened at the Indigenous Peoples March on Friday.

“We will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion,” the statement said.

The school and diocese apologized to the man in the video, identified as Vietnam veteran and Native American elder Nathan Phillips.

“We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general,” the statement said. “… We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.”

More: ‘Blatant racism’: Ky. high school apologizes following backlash after video shows students surrounding indigenous marchers

More: Native American veteran: ‘Mob mentality’ in students seen in viral video was ‘scary’

Covington Catholic is an all-boys private high school in Northern Kentucky. 

The school has about 585 students and 42 teachers, according to the diocese.  According to the school’s website, it was founded in 1925, and 213 students attended the March for Life in 2017. The trip costs about $130 per student.

Backlash against the school was swift Saturday as the video went viral. It shows a young man wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap standing near Phillips, who is drumming, as other young men surrounding them cheer and chant. 

March attendees told the USA TODAY Network that the Covington students surrounded, intimidated and chanted over Native Americans who were singing about indigenous peoples’ strength and spirit. 

But after short clips of the incident went viral this weekend, people started sharing full-length clips of the incident saying it shows that the students were provoked and that the man put himself in that position. 

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Phillips said the incident started as the students from Covington Catholic were observing a group of Black Israelites talk, and started to get upset at their speeches. 

Phillips said some of the members of the Black Hebrew group were also acting up, “saying some harsh things” and that one member spit in the direction of the Catholic students.

“So I put myself in between that, between a rock and hard place,” Phillips said.

As millions of people viewed videos of the incident circulating on social media, many expressed outrage over the boys’ behavior. 

Stormy Daniels calls out ‘disgusting punks’ from Covington Catholic</a>” data-reactid=”26″>Related: Stormy Daniels calls out ‘disgusting punks’ from Covington Catholic

twitter.com/KySecofState/status/1086709792972963841" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">&nbsp;took to Twitter</a> to condemn the incident. Grimes said she is "a proud alumnae" of a Catholic high school and&nbsp;called on Covington Catholic to "denounce this behavior."” data-reactid=”27″>Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes took to Twitter to condemn the incident. Grimes said she is “a proud alumnae” of a Catholic high school and called on Covington Catholic to “denounce this behavior.”

“In spite of these horrific scenes, I refuse to shame and solely blame these children for this type of behavior,” Grimes said. “Instead, I turn to the adults and administration that are charged with teaching them, and to those who are silently letting others promote this behavior. This is not the Kentucky we know and love.”

News of the incident at the march did not surprise Angela Arnett-Garner, who said she is part Shawnee and who helped organize Kentucky’s first Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in 2017, as well as the first Indigenous Peoples Day event in Louisville last year. 

Trump calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" because the Massachusetts Democrat has claimed&nbsp;she has Native American ancestry.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”30″>She pointed to the controversy over President Donald Trump calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” because the Massachusetts Democrat has claimed she has Native American ancestry. 

Trump took office has just exploded. People feel like they’re entitled to be racist and demonstrate their racist views."” data-reactid=”31″>”I’m not surprised at all,” at this incident in D.C., Arnett-Garner said. “The racism in this country after Trump took office has just exploded. People feel like they’re entitled to be racist and demonstrate their racist views.”

twitter.com/MorganMcGarvey/status/1086706679784312833" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">tweeted</a>&nbsp;the incident "is embarrassing and wrong."” data-reactid=”32″>State Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, a Louisville Democrat, tweeted the incident “is embarrassing and wrong.”

“Yes, these kids should apologize and (hopefully) learn from this,” McGarvey wrote. “However, we also can’t excuse the leaders who normalize this conduct. We all should do better…especially on MLK weekend.”

Contributing: Max Londberg and Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati Enquirer

Twitter:&nbsp;@raretakis and&nbsp;@Billy_Kobin</em>” data-reactid=”35″>Follow Rachel Aretakis and Billy Kobin on Twitter: @raretakis and @Billy_Kobin

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Covington Catholic could expel students who taunted Native American man in viral video




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