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Expelling teens for apparently intimidating Native American man not the answer: political researcher

A group of students from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills - many wearing ``Make America Great Again'' hats and sweatshirts - surrounded an elderly Native American man singing and playing a drum, laughing and jeering at him. YOUTUBE

A political researcher says expelling teens for apparently intimidating a Native American man is not the answer

Researcher says kids need more education on diversity, not divisive topics

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As a Catholic School considers expelling teens for apparently intimidating a First Nations Elder while wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, banning them may not be the answer.

Political Researcher Megan Dias says the viral video makes one thing clear: the teen is showing behaviour that echoes the current political climate.

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She says there are some environmental factors that account for their behaviour, including the school, home environment, and political culture.

“You know, you have a President who calls Indigenous politicians ‘Pocahontas,'” she says.

The situation itself may have turned out differently if the student was on his own, or the only person wearing the hat, she says : “I think it is the safety in numbers, emboldened in numbers, being egged on by peers.”

WATCH: ‘MAGA’ hat-wearing teens mock Indigenous elder

As for why the teens were at the event, she says its not unusual to see private religious schools take students to major political protests.

But suspending them for the behaviour won’t bring about meaningful change. She says the teens need more education on diversity, not divisive topics.

“These are people probably too young to vote. They’re taking on this language, they’re acting in this way, they’re in this group and they’re emboldened in this group,” she says.

A diocese in Kentucky apologized Saturday after viral videos emerged showing teens mocking a Native American man at a rally in Washington,

– With files from the Associated Press