By now, we’re sure you’ve heard about the growing controversy in which some National Football League players have decided to take a knee during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality, racism, and most recently due to President Trump’s comments calling for players to be fired for kneeling.
However, you may not have heard that these protests have now spread to schools all across the country. The most noteworthy case so far is that of a 6 year old who was admonished for taking a knee during the pledge of allegiance in a Florida classroom.
Each week, the NFL player protests attract more news coverage, and more high profile celebrities joining in on the debate on the news, talk shows and social media. Some analysts believe that the tension between the president and NFL players has the potential to set the stage for a massive confrontation in the public school system.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court made a ruling that schools have no right to force students to participate in national rituals, including the pledge of allegiance and standing during the national anthem.
Parkway High School in Louisiana warned students that taking a knee during the national anthem will result in removal from sports teams. The full statement released by the school outlined steps that will be taken prior to removal from teams. Initially, protesters may lose playing time when they ignore caution by the principal or head coach. However, repeated acts of perceived disrespect for the national anthem will be punished by expulsion.
In an interview with the HuffPost, Scott Smith, the Bossier Parish superintendent said the entire Louisiana school district supports the move by Park High School. As such, up to 34 schools adopted the same decision as a way to deal with the demonstrations. Smith further expressed the strong belief that all teams and organizations must show respect by standing during the national anthem.
The Louisiana school district attracted a number of responses from across the country. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) urged parents to raise any objections with the school district in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment, which ruled in favor of protesters. The debates in public schools are largely identical to those taking place in professional sports leagues and the rest of the country.
Some commentators lauded the learning opportunity presented by the discussions. They are convinced that parents have a chance to teach their children about the right to protest and the importance of making rational decisions in these circumstances.
Meanwhile, the Houston Independent School District said in a statement that it would not compel any students to stand during the national anthem. The district made the decision ahead of Saturday night football games. The stance was based on the constitutional right of students. The federal and state law clearly states that both students and educators retain their First Amendment rights around the school premises.
Our private math tutors will continue to monitor this situation closely in California schools. Be sure to check our blog for future updates on this controversial topic.