LHSAA releases statement on national anthem protests


Nearly a week after President Donald Trump demanded that NFL players who protest the national anthem be fired, one high school principal threatened to punish student-athletes who chose to sit or kneel in protest during in-game anthems.

A high school in Bossier City, Louisiana has come out against nationwide protests during the national anthem by threatening student-athletes that kneel with removal from the school's sports teams.

The ACLU of Louisiana condemned the Bossier Parish School Board's decision, saying punishing someone who took a knee during the national anthem is violating that student's First Amendment rights.

'Indeed, schools should respect students who embrace their constitutional rights and stand up to injustice - not punish them.

This district directive was derived after seeking input from all Bossier Parish middle and high school principals in light of the national conversation now taking place.

Centerville High School Athletic Director Rob Dement indicated he also doesn't agree with kneeling but he supports an American's right to free speech - whether you're a professional National Football League player or a student athlete.

A number of Dallas-area varsity football teams took the field for the first time since last Sunday's NFL anthem protests and took advantage of the opportunity to make their own statement of protest.

"When they're playing the national anthem him they should stand up and respect it".

As the band played the anthem, Parkway's coaches stood at the end of the line in black windbreakers, their hands over their hearts. One school's letter, which the school district shared Friday, said "all organized student group members" also must stand.

In the Dallas area, some high school coaches are talking with their players about the NFL players' protests during the national anthem, while others are not.

And past year a high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, was criticized for allowing student to kneel during the anthem.

Zandra Ashley, whose 18-year-old son played football at Parkway last year, said she believed the principal's order crossed the line. And it would be patently unconstitutional for the school to do so.

"When you're a part of something greater than yourself, like on a football team and you're wearing the uniform that has your schools name on it, your school colors, you're also speaking for that school and that district and that community", Fallon said.

That case, West Virginia State Board of Education v Barnette, found that it would be a violation of the constitutional right to free speech to require students to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Being a basketball person I think I will be more interested in the NCAA D-1 Basketball remaining 346 of the 351 men's teams/coaches to see if there are anymore top schools being found to be facing corruption charges. "But as I explain to kids often, people misunderstand the whole idea about patriotism, because we felt we were being patriotic toward our Constitution, not toward the specific policies of any government official".

"It's this chilling effect we find so unfortunate", says Bob Farrace, director of public affairs for the National Association of Secondary School Principals.