The school at the center of the controversy surrounding the viral video of a confrontation between students and a Native American protester closed Tuesday over safety concerns and threats

  • Administrators at Covington Catholic High School announced the school’s campus would be closed Tuesday out of “safety” concerns.
  • The school’s principal said in a letter to students and families that the decision to close was made after consulting with local authorities.
  • A video of a group of Covington students in a seemingly tense standoff with a Native American protestor in Washington, DC caught fire on social media over the weekend.

Administrators at Covington Catholic High School announced the school’s campus would be closed Tuesday out of safety concerns.

A local Cincinnati Fox affiliate reported the school’s principal Robert Rowe had written a letter to students and their families that the decision was made after speaking with authorities.

“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,” Rowe wrote. “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.”

Rowe added: “Please continue to keep the Covington Catholic Community in your prayers.”

The story involving the Covington Catholic students first caught fire as videos were shared on social media that appeared to show a group from the school in Washington DC for the pro-life March For Life, smiling and chanting on a confrontational and mocking way while a Native American protester beat his drum. The initial video caused many online to to level angry accusations of racism at the school and its students.

Despite initial condemnations, extended video footage released days after the incident added context to the standoff, which was preceded by a seperate confrontation with a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lobbing angry slurs at the group. After the group appeared to respond with school cheers and the situation escalated, the Native American protester, Nathan Phillips, inserted himself in what he says was an attempt to difuse the situation. Students quickly gathered around him as he beat his drum and sang.

Read more:Video shows teenagers in ‘MAGA’ hats in a confrontation with Native American protestors at Indigenous Peoples March

Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, the student filmed standing directly in front of Phillips,said in a statement released Monday that while the group was waiting for buses to leave the March for Life, he heard a group of black Hebrew Israelites “direct derogatory insults at our school group.”

Sandmann said he released the statement to correct “outright lies” he had seen based on the video. He also said he had received multiple death threats.

However, Sandmann’s account has been contradicted by other other eyewitness accounts.

Even after multiple outlets furthered their reports to include the new footage, the school reportedly hired extra security over the weekend as Sandmann and other students received threats.

Cincinnati’s WXIX reported the American Indian Movement Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky announced on Facebook it would be moving a protest slated to happen outside the school to outside the diocese.

“Our concern is the adults – we want to hold the administration, teachers and seemingly absent chaperones accountable in this situation,” the group said in the post.

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