School threatens to punish students who kneel during anthem

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Last year, the principal of a Florida high school reportedly told students that during the pledge, "You are to stand and you are to be quiet".

The Jackson High School football team held true to its plan to take a knee as a team before the national anthem Friday night at Grand Ledge.

The South Eugene soccer players' brief display on Tuesday follows last Sunday's demonstration by 200 National Football League players who knelt during the National Anthem before their games.

Parkway High School has adopted a similar stance.

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.

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"You can not have people disrespecting our National Anthem, our flag, our country, and that's what they're doing", he said. "These laws must, to be consistent with the First Amendment, permit the widest toleration of conflicting viewpoints consistent with a society of free men".

Ironically, the memo had said the school made the decision to make sure sporting events were "free of disruption".

"I don't think anyone disagrees at all with what the players are standing for", Dement said.

South Eugene High School Principal Andy Dey on Friday said the students' choice to kneel was their First Amendment right.

"We're not going to not do what we've done historically because of all the issues that are going on right now in the country", Leavenworth Athletic Director James Vanek explained. Slowly, other players joined the peaceful protest.

The Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal for the school to require that act of patriotism, and that the student could abstain so long as the student's actions posed no threat to anyone else.

Courts still use the Tinker standard to decide whether student speech at school - and sometimes even at home - is protected by the Constitution.

"I feel that if they're not doing anything or seen anything or discrimination against the flag they're just taking a knee on something that we all believe in", parent Virgeil Hale said. "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". In that case, the justices ruled a principal could censor yearbook stories about divorce and teen pregnancy because students' articles were sponsored by the school.

By mandating athletes rise for the anthem, Mr Bates thrust his high school into a national furor provoked by Mr Trump's comments.

"The best approach is helping our young people understand that blood was sacrificed so that we all can enjoy the gifts of our faith and our country", the diocese said in a letter to its schools, NJ.com reported this week. But if student athletes at public schools choose to protest, legal precedent supports their right.

This week, the school sent a letter to athletes and families, making clear its policy on the national anthem.

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