It resurfaced Monday on social media following the incident in Washington involving Native American activist Nathan Phillips and Covington students. Video footage shows them shouting insults at many people, including Native Americans, as well as the schoolboys.
They said they are investigating and "appropriate action" will be taken.
But longer videos of the encounter show the boys standing in that spot for a long period of time before Phillips walked up to them to play his drum right in the middle of their group. One video also shows them using the "n" word, telling an African-American boy who appeared to be with the school group that the white people were going to steal his organs.
In his statement, Mr Sandmann said he did not verbally or physically engage with Mr Phillips. "I explained to them, you want to build the wall for Mexicans and other indigenous people, but you've never seen a black or a Mexican shoot up a school".
He said he was "startled and confused as to why he had approached me". "I don't buy it at all", Phillips said.
Before the incident, the group of students were already engaging in school spirit and conservative-themed chants to pass the time and have fun.
"I stepped in between to pray", Mr Phillips said. They based this entire story upon a man who has a history of harassing innocent high school and college students, exclusively to get his name in the news.
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Officials say the students' behavior is opposed to the church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.
Phillip reportedly began beating a drum and singing as a way to ease tensions and can be seen approaching the groups.
"I was not intentionally making faces at the protester".
Phillips alleges that the students threw a beer can at him and hurled racial slurs.
U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, who is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and had been at the rally earlier in the day, used Twitter to sharply criticize what she called a "heartbreaking" display of "blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance".
The students, Phillips said, were upset at the speeches being given by the Black Israelites, and more than 100 assembled at one point and "were in the process of attacking these four black individuals", he said.
He accused the students of "mocking us while we're having discourse", and argued that, although his group had been vocal, they "didn't approach" the students and there was no "physical situation".