A mother who chaperoned a group of Kentucky high school students now facing criticism after an edited video from the March for Life rally went viral told Fox News she believes they were targeted “for what they stood for.”
Jill Hamlin’s comments on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday came just as Covington High School announced it would be closed Tuesday for safety precautions. She said boys from the school were attending the rally, as they do each year, when another group – the so-called Black Hebrew Israelites – started shouting abuse at the students for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
“I think they were targeted for what they stood for... which is Christianity, the right for life, and they were singled out and I believe partially because of the color of their skin they were targeted,” Hamlin said.
A video recorded around the time of that incident then emerged Saturday on a Twitter account, which has since been suspended, and gave an inaccurate impression that the students were harassing a Native American man, Nathan Phillips – drawing widespread condemnation on social media.
Subsequent video footage then came out revealing the students were being accosted and yelled at before Phillips and other Native American activists approached them.
Following the revelations of full video footage of the incident, some prominent social media users backtracked on their condemnation of the students -- though many have left their messages of criticism and calls to reveal private information live on social media.
“We were there for the March for Life – it’s an annual trip that the Covington Catholic High School goes to and we meet every year at the Lincoln Memorial at the end of the day to catch our buses,” Hamlin said. “We were not there for any other purpose other than to attend the peaceful March for Life, which we did.”
Hamlin told ‘Fox & Friends’ that the Black Hebrew Israelites were “screaming horrible, horrible things that I will not repeat” at the students after the march.
“This continued and the boys asked if they could do one of their school cheers because they wanted to drown out the hatred that was being said to them and one of our teachers said it was ok for them to do their cheer,” she added. “We wanted to drown out the hate, the hatred message that was being thrown at our children.”
Phillips himself has told differing accounts of his role in the incident, initially telling the Washington Post the teenagers swarmed him out of nowhere, but later telling the Detroit Free Press he intervened after he saw the schoolkids yelling at African-Americans.
"These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey," Phillips said.
Fox News' Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.