Some Jefferson Parish, La., police officers have refused to work a voluntary security detail at Bonnabel High School football games after the majority of the team knelt during the playing of the national anthem to protest injustices and police brutality in African-American communities.
"I was a bit taken aback at first. Keep in mind, I know what is happening nationally with some of the protests that's happening across the country," Jefferson Parish Public Schools Superintendent Isaac Joseph told Fox 8 Live. "They do have a right, and legally we do not have any right to punish or offer any sanctions against the team or team members."
Some Jefferson Parish deputies learned of the students’ protest and took offense.
"My understanding is, we’ve had some officers that said they will not work the Bonnabel High football games," Sheriff Newell Normand told the news station. "I understand why, in light of Colin Kaepernick's comments, specifically when he says, 'Cops are getting paid leave for killing people.' That's not right; that's not right by anyone's standards. The fact of the matter is, we risk our lives each and every day for the safety and security of our constituency throughout this country."
Normand added that because of the protest, many officers won't volunteer to work at the school, which is in Kenner, La.
"That is a voluntary detail, so I suspect I will have some officers refuse to work the Bonnabel High School games," Normand said. "The same way that the Bonnabel players have every right to kneel during the national anthem, my officers have every right not to volunteer to work the Bonnabel High School football game."
Normand added that he won’t let the school go without protection, but he won’t force his deputies to work a detail that they feel disrespects their job.
“That fuels the disappointment in my officers when they see this happen, and I can fully understand their disappointment and frustration,” Normand said. "When they're on the clock and they're working for me, they've got to do what they’ve got to do, because that's what they're hired to do. That's not what this is—this is a voluntary detail where they volunteer to work this extra detail separate and apart from what they’re hired to do."
Normand said that this isn't the first time his deputies have refused to volunteer for security details, noting that many will not work during concerts or events if they don’t agree with the artist or message, the news station reports.
Bonnabel faces Landry-Walker High School in New Orleans on Friday.
Read more at Fox 8 Live.