Louisiana school requiring student athletes to stand during national anthem

Parkway High School parents are sharing a memo sent from the school administration to parents and student athletes advising of the consequences for protesting during the National Anthem at football games

Parkway High School parents are sharing a memo sent from the school administration to parents and student athletes advising of the consequences for protesting during the National Anthem at football games

"It is the policy and procedure of Caddo Parish Public Schools and the Caddo Parish School Board to allow students and staff to practice their First Amendment rights as long as that practice does not impede on the ability of others to practice their beliefs", Caddo Superintendent Lamar Goree said in a statement.

"The law does not permit schools to forbid students from expressing their views, and all schools should be on notice that these policies are in fact unconstitutional", Marjorie Esman, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, said in an interview on Friday.

In Louisiana, a high school gained national attention after it sent a letter saying that those who do not stand during sporting events will face suspension or removal from sports teams.

"As far as players protesting, the less said is best, but that's left up to a principal or a head coach if anything is said to the players about what they do". Student atheltes taking a knee could show up at high school sporting events again as it did a year ago.

An image of the letter was posted online by Shaun King, a journalist at The Intercept.

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But American soldiers throughout history have struggled to defend free speech and free expression, and O'Neill said she believes students have the right to exercise these freedoms.

In the wake of Donald Trump's aggressive comments against Kaepernick's kneeling protest, even more high school teams have chosen to kneel in solidarity with him.

The protest was started by Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, in 2016 to protest police brutality, particularly against minorities. 43 percent of respondents said players are doing the right thing by kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner, compared to 49 percent who think they are doing the wrong thing.

The number of players kneeling during the national anthem has grown, especially in the National Football League.

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Citing a Supreme Court ruling from almost 75 years ago that established public schools "have no business forcing students to stand for patriotic rituals" and that it is part of the job of public school administrators "to train students for participation in our free society", Esman concluded that "schools have no valid interest in turning their students into mouthpieces of government speech, full stop". He added that their location near Barksdale Air Force Base gave additional reason to "pay homage to the American flag".

After multiple media requests about the district's stance on demonstrations during the anthem, HISD chose to release a statement, spokesman Tracy Clemons said.

Debate over pro athletes protesting during the playing of the National Anthem has raged since previous year, when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began to kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a way of protesting police brutality and racial inequality in America.

During Thursday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, players and some fans locked arms in a moment of unity.

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