The group of Catholic students who find themselves at the center of controversy involving a Native American Vietnam veteran could face grave consequences at their school in Kentucky.
Controversy erupted over the weekend after a video showing a group of students from Covington Catholic High School allegedly mock a Native American man in Washington, D.C., went viral. The alleged incident took place after the March for Life, which coincided with the Indigenous Peoples March.
What consequences do the students face?
In a statement condemning the incident, Covington officials said school administrators are investigating the incident, which could result in expulsion for the students involved.
"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. 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," the officials said.
"The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion," their statement continued.
Officials also apologized to the March for Life and the pro-life movement, explaining the incident has "tainted the entire witness of the March for Life."
What did the witness say?
While the mainstream media were quick on Saturday to declare the students guilty of anti-Native American bigotry, new angles and videos in context told a much different story. In fact, the students were not protesting Native Americans as some claimed, nor did they approach and surround a group of Native Americans as initially alleged.
Meanwhile, Marcus Frejo, who the Associated Press described as "a member of the Pawnee and Seminole tribes who is also known as Chief Quese Imc," also countered the dominate media narrative.
Frejo told the AP that while it seemed the students initially appeared to mock the Native Americans, once the situation defused he "was at peace singing among the scorn and he briefly felt something special happen as they repeatedly sang the [anthem from the Native American Movement]."
"They went from mocking us and laughing at us to singing with us. I heard it three times," Frejo said. "That spirit moved through us, that drum, and it slowly started to move through some of those youths."
In the end, a "calm" fell over the group before they dispersed.