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PARK HILL, KY January 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky closed its doors Tuesday over security concerns after students became the center of a mainstream media firestorm when they were accused — falsely, it turns out — of mocking last Friday Native Americans outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
A letter from school principal Robert Rowe stated: “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.”
The letter reads further: “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. Please continue to keep the Covington Catholic Community in your prayers.”
Other schools in the area are closed, but because of bitterly cold winter temperatures.
Apart from the closing, additional security precautions have been added at the all-boys school after threats were launched at the school and individual students. On Tuesday, the American Indian Movement Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky will hold a protest at 10 a.m. outside the headquarters of the Diocese of Covington. Initially, the protest was planned to be held at the school.
Reactions were severe on the part of media outlets and social media when an initial short video circulated widely that depicted a Covington Catholic student standing impassively in front of Native American protester Nathan Phillips. The student later identified himself as Nick Sandmann, who had joined classmates at the March for Life on Friday. Phillips was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March that coincided with the March for Life.
Sandmann released a statement in which he explained the context of the incident and denied any racist intentions. He added that both he and his family have received death threats and otherwise harassed. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) told LifeSiteNews in an interview that at least one Covington Catholic student is under police protection. Also, a prosecutor in Kentucky has promised to prosecute those who have threatened the students and school.
The Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School issued a joint statement on Saturday condemning the students and promising an “investigation” of the incident. Expulsion of the students involved is a possibility.
The message still appeared on the Diocese of Covington’s website late Monday night, despite the fact that the mainstream media’s account of the January 18 event had been entirely debunked by Saturday evening with video evidence proving the boys' innocence. The diocese' website was down this morning. “Sorry for the inconvenience. Our website is currently down,” a message read.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that the students were treated “unfairly” and had been subjected to a smear campaign.
Trump joins pro-life Republicans Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie, both of Kentucky, in expressing support for the embattled students. A Polish lawmaker has invited the “wrongfully accused” students to address his country’s Parliament, too.