CNN’s Jake Tapper posted a statement from Covington Catholic HS student Nick Sandmann, the student in the now-viral videos showing a confrontation between students and Native American veteran Nathan Phillips:

Sandmann’s account basically repeats everything we now know about the encounter, but with this very big new detail. According to Sandmann, one of the students in the crowd asked for and received permission to start the school cheer that looks to have led to the interaction with Phillips. It’s also important because many have asked why the chaperones didn’t step in when things escalated:

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to being our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group.

Sandmann also explained why he stayed “motionless and calm” during the encounter:

Screenshots of the full statement here: