Chaperones on Kentucky high school trip defend students

Parents who chaperoned Kentucky high school students who were captured in a viral video mocking a Native American elder on a class trip are defending the tee...

Posted: Jan 22, 2019 6:23 AM

Parents who chaperoned Kentucky high school students who were captured in a viral video mocking a Native American elder on a class trip are defending the teenagers.

The Covington Catholic High School students were criticized when a brief video surfaced on Friday showing them wearing Make America Great Again hats and mocking Omaha tribe elder Nathan Phillips during the school's annual trip to a March for Life rally in Washington.

A second video surfaced on Sunday showing another group, who identify themselves as members of the Hebrew Israelites, taunting students with disparaging and vulgar language, before the encounter with the Native American.

Covington Catholic parents told CNN affiliate WKRC the students did not incite violence and were calm as taunts were hurled at them. One parent said he tried to intervene to defuse the situation.

The statements are some of the first public comments from chaperones after the encounter on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

"Our boys did nothing. No violence. They did not attack those gentlemen. They stood there waiting for their bus," Jim Wilson told WKRC on Sunday.

School, students receive threats

The all-boys Covington Catholic high school, located south of Cincinnati, and some of its students have received threats since the viral video came out, Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders told CNN. He would not elaborate on the nature of the threats.

He said school officials met with local law enforcement on Monday to come up with a plan to ensure student safety.

In a letter to parents, Covington's principal Robert Rowe said an independent third party investigator will look into the incident.

In an interview Monday on Westwood One's Ben Shapiro Radio Show, Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie defended the students.

"I think the kids should be commended, not condemned," he said.

"I almost fell for the narrative myself," Massie said.

"This is almost like a psychology experiment where somebody tells you what you're going to see, tells you what you're going to hear, and then they give you a little snippet, and you're like 'yeah, that's what I heard, that's what I saw,'" he said. "And that's what happened when that first video came out."

Screenshots of a smirking Nick Sandmann, a junior, staring down Phillips, who was taking part in the Indigenous Peoples March, sparked widespread outrage.

Katy Taitano, a student at the University of the District of Columbia who took part in the Indigenous Peoples Rally and shot the first viral video, said the teenagers were chanting "Build the wall" and "Trump 2020." Those chants were not audible in videos reviewed by CNN.

In a statement on Sunday, Sandmann said the students' actions were incorrectly painted as racist. He said they raised their voices to drown out the Hebrew Israelites' inflammatory statements, not to mock or intimidate Phillips.

Phillips has also said the teenager blocked his escape. Sandmann has denied blocking Phillips' path, saying Phillips "locked eyes" with him.

Sandmann also denied anyone said "build that wall" or anything hateful.

"I was not intentionally making faces at the protester. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation," Sandmann said in the statement.

'They were targeted'

The Lincoln Memorial was the students' meeting point following an afternoon of sightseeing, so they could board buses back to Kentucky, according to Sandmann.

As the crowd of students grew, some of the men in the Hebrew Israelites group criticized their "racist" MAGA hats, calling them "crackers" and "incest children."

The Sunday video showed some students walking away. Almost an hour into the video, students are shown amassing in large numbers on the steps behind the Hebrew Israelites.

WKRC showed footage of Wilson trying to intervene at one point.

"They were curious of those men, so I got in between those men and the boys and pushed the boys back," Wilson told WKRC. "Eventually, I could get eight to 10 of the boys that knew me, and I said, "We need to get out of here.'"

In his statement, Sandmann wrote, "A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school."

A student jumped in front of the group, ripped his shirt off and led his schoolmates in a chant and dance. He retreated, as other students bounced up and down, continuing to chant, attracting onlookers.

A drumming sound grew louder off screen, and Phillips, surrounded by several others, entered the frame and walked into the crowd.

"Our boys were targeted," Jill Hamlin, a Covington Catholic parent and chaperone, told WKRC without elaborating.

"They were targeted from the get-go. Immediately there were all these people running around filming," she told the station.

Hamilin added: "I can't believe they even stayed and listened to the vitriol and the hatred that was being shouted at them. As a mother, it was horrible, horrible."

Terre Haute
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 93°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 96°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 88°
Rockville
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 86°
Casey
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 92°
Brazil
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 93°
Marshall
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 93°
July Heat Continues
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 144013

Reported Deaths: 6951
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook909114581
Lake9752418
DuPage9083472
Kane7733271
Will6744320
Winnebago304695
McHenry206197
St. Clair1906136
Kankakee128565
Kendall96320
Madison94769
Rock Island94729
Champaign88012
Boone59521
DeKalb55818
Peoria49928
Sangamon43132
Jackson33219
Randolph2877
Stephenson2745
McLean26113
Ogle2614
Clinton23717
Macon23122
LaSalle21917
Union19119
Whiteside19115
Coles17017
Grundy1674
Iroquois1575
Warren1380
Tazewell1378
Knox1320
Cass1302
Morgan1283
Monroe12713
Williamson1204
Jefferson10717
McDonough10115
Lee972
Adams931
Henry881
Pulaski760
Marion660
Vermilion662
Perry541
Douglas520
Macoupin523
Unassigned500
Jasper467
Livingston452
Jo Daviess441
Montgomery441
Christian434
Jersey351
Ford331
Woodford332
Bureau292
Menard250
Fayette233
Alexander220
Franklin220
Mason220
Wabash220
Carroll212
Johnson200
Mercer200
Piatt200
Washington200
Hancock191
Crawford180
Moultrie180
Shelby181
Fulton150
Logan150
Clark140
Wayne141
Bond131
Massac130
Schuyler130
Cumberland120
Effingham121
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
Marshall80
Lawrence70
De Witt60
Hamilton50
White50
Richland40
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Pike20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Out of IL10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 45952

Reported Deaths: 2650
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11387679
Lake4872240
Elkhart308543
Allen2677114
St. Joseph184965
Cass16369
Hamilton1484100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1235118
Porter68537
Madison64363
Tippecanoe6408
Clark62244
Bartholomew57844
Howard54356
LaPorte53925
Kosciusko4952
LaGrange4596
Jackson4553
Noble44728
Vanderburgh4306
Hancock42935
Delaware42648
Boone42242
Shelby41625
Marshall4123
Floyd36344
Morgan32031
Montgomery28720
Grant28526
Clinton2792
Dubois2606
White25810
Monroe25628
Decatur24632
Henry23515
Lawrence23124
Vigo2248
Harrison20822
Dearborn20422
Warrick20129
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16911
Putnam1658
DeKalb1594
Scott1547
Daviess13916
Orange13323
Wayne1286
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1209
Ripley1127
Carroll1092
Jasper1092
Wabash1072
Fayette967
Newton9510
Whitley814
Randolph764
Starke733
Huntington702
Wells681
Jay670
Fulton661
Jefferson651
Washington641
Pulaski631
Knox620
Clay594
Rush573
Benton480
Adams451
Owen451
Gibson442
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey350
Spencer311
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain292
Switzerland250
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike80
Unassigned0194