The private Catholic high school at the center of the viral clash at Lincoln Memorial on Friday has closed for the safety of its students after claiming to have received threats and consulting local police.
Covington Catholic High School principal Robert Rowe told parents on Monday night that the school would remain closed the next day.
‘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.
‘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.
President Trump doubled down on his support of the teenagers with this tweet on Tuesday
Covington Catholic High School (pictured on Sunday) is closed on Tuesday for the safety of its students, according to its principal. A sign which read ‘This was not OK’ was left outside the school over the weekend after the video of its students at the Lincoln Memorial went viral
Principal Bob Rowe sent this email to parents and staff on Monday night
‘Please continue to keep the Covington Catholic Community in your prayers,’ the letter said.
The school deleted its website, its Facebook page and disconnected its phone number over the weekend. Fees there can run up to $9,000 a year.
On Tuesday morning, President Trump doubled down on his support of the children with another tweet where he labeled them ‘symbols of Fake News’.
‘Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.
‘They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good – maybe even to bring people together.
‘It started off unpleasant, but can end in a dream!’ he said.
Nick Sandmann, a Covington Catholic High School student, was filmed wearing a MAGA hat while staring down 64-year-old Nathan Phillips during an altercation at the memorial in Washington D.C. on Friday
A longer video has since emerged showing the teens in a standoff against members of a group, calling itself the Black Hebrew Israelites, in the lead up to the altercation with the Native American.
All three groups were in D.C. for various protests – the students attended a rally to end abortion, the Israelites were protesting centuries of oppression and Native Americans marching to end injustice for indigenous peoples across the globe.
The Israelites were filmed taunting everyone on the mall that day, calling the Native Americans who had gathered there for the Indigenous Peoples March ‘Uncle Tomahawks’ and ‘$5 Indians’ and the high school students ‘crackers’ and worse.
Trump himself weighed in with a tweet on Monday night as some reports questioned whether the early criticism of the students was warranted.
‘Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgments proving out to be false – smeared by media. Not good, but making big comeback!’ Trump tweeted, in part.
The president’s son, Don Jr., also weighed in claiming that the media targeted Sandmann and his classmates because they were white and wearing MAGA hats.
‘(The media) want a bunch of nice Catholic kids, who happen to be white, they want them to be the enemy,’ Don Jr. said on Fox News.
Trump weighed in with a tweet on Monday night back the students as some reports questioned whether the early criticism of the teenagers was warranted
The President’s son, Don Jr., also weighed in claiming that the media targeted Sandmann and his classmates because they were white and wearing MAGA hats
Protesters from the black Hebrew Israelites first engaged the students from Covington Catholic High School at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial on Friday by calling them out for their MAGA gear
As the Hebrew Israelites continued to preach, the high school students gathered on the steps of the memorial
‘I would caution everyone passing judgment based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas,’ Sandmann, a junior, said in a statement released late Sunday.
Sandmann’s statement does seem at odds with some video from the confrontation that showed students from his school laughing at Phillips’ Native American group and mockingly singing along with him, as well as interviews with Phillips who said he heard the students shout ‘Build that wall!’ and ‘Go back to the reservation!’
The fullest view of what happened that Friday afternoon came from a nearly two-hour video posted on Facebook by Shar Yaqataz Banyamyan. It showed members of his Black Hebrew Israelite group repeatedly interacting with the crowd as people from the Indigenous Peoples March and the high school students vigorously argued with them for a few minutes.
Sandmann said in his statement the students from his all-male high school were waiting for their buses near Banyamyan’s group when the latter started to taunt them.
They first labeled the teens a bunch of ‘child molesting f****ts’ because they were part of the Catholic church and then said they all had the faces of ‘school shooters’ and were ‘crackers’ and ‘pecker-woods’ – two derogatory terms that historically have been used against poor, rural white people.
The Israelites, among their musings, defended Bill Cosby, claiming he was judged unfairly by the ‘white’ judicial system for drugging and sexually assaulting women.
The students, for the most part, did not respond to their taunts aggressively but one screamed ‘hell yeah!’ when one from the Israelites group said that their education had been paid for by the bloodshed of slavery.
One of the students was filmed taking off his shirt and the teens started to do a haka – a war dance of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori culture, made famous by the country’s national rugby team
Phillips, an elder of the Omaha tribe, and Marcus Frejo, a member of the Pawnee and Seminole tribes, said they felt the students were mocking the dance and walked over to intervene
The crowd continued chanting, becoming increasingly animated, before Philips appeared
One of the students was filmed taking off his shirt and the teens started to do a haka – a war dance of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori culture, made famous by the country’s national rugby team.
Phillips, an elder of the Omaha tribe, and Marcus Frejo, a member of the Pawnee and Seminole tribes, said they felt the students were mocking the dance and walked over to intervene.
Phillips and Sandmann locked eyes with their faces inches apart and both men have said their goal was simply to make sure things didn’t get out of hand.
The incident went viral and divided the internet.
Some said the students had done nothing wrong and that Phillips approached them eager to ‘provoke’ them. Others maintain they were mocking the man, who has said he served in the Vietnam war, for his Native American heritage.
The high-schoolers, who were in Washington DC to attend an anti-abortion protest, said they felt they were unfairly portrayed as villains in a situation where they say they were not the provocateurs.
With the two groups stood on opposite sides of each other, Nathan Philips appeared with his drum and walked in between them, towards the monument steps
Before taking his stand against Philips, Sandmann was in the crowd laughing
The crowd of students was several men deep when Philips came face to face with Nick Sandmann
‘I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination,’ Sandmann said in his statement.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington apologized for the incident, promising an investigation that could lead to punishment up to expulsion if any wrongdoing by the students was determined.
‘We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr Phillips,’ they said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the school has also now been called out for allowing students to wear black face at pep rallies over the last decade.
In a video posted on YouTube, there are several images of students attending Braveheart Marches, dressed in hunting clothes and at various other themed parties.
Among them are photos and video from a 2011 event called ‘blackout’ where at least one student painted his upper body with black paint.
At a separate event in 2012, two students were covered in black paint.
In one shocking image, students wearing black face openly goad a black player from an opposing team during a basketball game.
At another event in 2015, more students wore blackface and jeered as an African American player from the school’s opponent stood in front of them
A student from the 2011 ‘Blackout’ pep rally had painted his entire upper body in black paint
At a 2012 event titled ‘Hillshire Farm’ other students were seen with black paint on their faces and bodies