Kentucky Teen Sparks Debate About Free Speech

Kentucky Teen Sparks Debate About Free Speech

On Friday, January 18, a group of male students from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky were in Washington, D.C., for the national March for Life.  A video later emerged on social media and in the national media where the teens were on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial surrounding a Native American man playing a tribal drum, and chanting “make America great again.” Some sources described the teenagers as “mocking” the Native American Man, who has been identified to be Nathan Philips, a Marine veteran. The incident, which has been covered widely by the national media has changed over time. The initial video released to the public showed only a small clip of the encounter, leading many to condemn the teens for their “insensitive” and “inappropriate” behavior.  As more facts and a more complete video of the confrontation came to light, many across the country had to re-think their opinions of what happened. Nick Sandmann, the teen at the center of the controversy has spoken with the national media and defended his actions. The entire event has sparked a debate across the country about what should have happened during the interaction between groups with different political beliefs.

Students at Lexington Christian Academy can relate to Covington Catholic in many ways. They both attend religious schools, share a similar demographic, and most importantly, both schools are in Kentucky. So this being, I decided to interview a few different people at LCA. Mr. Perkins will be taking a group of AP US History Students to D.C. this semester to attend the CPAC convention. When asked how Mr. Perkins would respond if his students were to find themselves in a situation like this one, he said “The goal is never to have my students in that type of situation, but if that were to happen, my job as a teacher is to be proactive in removing the students from that situation before it begins to escalate.” Although many people have differing views on this recent topic, Junior Ben Philpot, describes the incident as being “blown out of proportions, and both sides were being ignorant at the time, and looking back I think they both realize that, but they should have just walked away, as the students and the Native American. The media caused it to be a lot worse than what really happened.”  In hindsight, Sandmann agrees. In a recent interview with NBC news, he stated that he “wishes they could have just avoided the whole thing.”