As the country continues to engage in the #TakeAKnee debate, certain schools have started to take action to ensure that students are standing during our National Anthem.
A school district in Louisiana says it will punish any player who refuses to stand for the National Anthem, citing “respect and reverence” for the military as the reason for the ban. Principal Waylon Bates wrote a letter to his students Parkway High School in Louisiana letting them know that anyone who protested in any way during the National Anthem would be kicked off their team and possibly suspended. Students in New York and Tennessee have also been threatened with punishment if they take a knee during the Anthem.
Other schools are hoping to avoid controversy by simply not playing the National Anthem. One school in Baton Rogue chose to stop playing the Anthem, claiming that the decision was made amidst “safety concerns.” A youth football league in Texas has also decided to stop playing it.
Many of these school policies have come as a response to last Sunday when several NFL players and teams protested after Donald Trump stated that any “son of a bitch” who knelt during the National Anthem should be fired for their actions. Players on almost every team in the league took part in the protest and a few teams even opted to stay in the locker room during the National Anthem. Last night, players from the Packers and Bears chose to link arms during the Anthem instead of kneeling. Protests are very likely to continue across the league this Sunday.
Regardless, the actions of so many NFL players have sparked a national conversation about the nature of patriotism, racism, and protest in the U.S. Those conversations have trickled down into youth sports as well as schools. Some youth teams decided to take a knee themselves, while others decided to distance themselves from anyone taking part in the protests. To many, this may seem like a dark, divided chapter in our nation’s history. But these difficult conversations serve to help us grow as a country and come together stronger than ever. And kids need to understand why they’re happening.