The media failed Cov­ington Catholic High School pro­testers. | Courtesy

Last week, a video of a now infamous stand-off between a group of high schoolers from Cov­ington Catholic High School and Native American pro­testers sur­faced, leading to countless con­dem­na­tions from members of both political parties.

When further context and addi­tional details emerged, it became clear the boys were wrongly accused of tar­geting and harassing Nathan Phillips, the Ypsi­lanti native who led the Native Amer­icans directly into the high schoolers’ group, banging his drum and repeating a tra­di­tional chant.

The Cov­ington Catholic boys prove to be a valuable lesson in more ways than one, but perhaps the most valuable is this: Young people must be wary of unwanted attention, espe­cially in this age of uni­versal internet access and social media.

Though the boys were wrongly accused of racism and harassment, the video of their rowdy behavior could be hard to walk away from — and through no fault of their own.

The media failed them. It forsook its respon­si­bility to promote honesty and integrity and instead ran with a par­ticular nar­rative to score political points. But the point remains: Be on guard. Be prudent. Be wary of social media posts because that image will lurk and linger.

It shouldn’t have to be this way. Young adults should be free to make mis­takes without the fear of unjust scorn. But this is a trend that is becoming all too common, and we must be ready to meet it.