What is the First Amendment? Seems as if Parkway High School in Bossier Parish, La., may need a refresher because the principal of that school just issued a letter to parents Thursday saying that students will be suspended (and/or ultimately removed) from sports teams if they attempt to demonstrate in any way during the national anthem.
Land of the free and home of the brave indeed.
According to the Washington Post, Parkway Principal Waylon Bates noted in his letter that the school “requires athletes to stand in a respectful manner throughout the national anthem during any sporting event in which their team is participating.”
“Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal. Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team,” the letter continued. “Parkway High School is committed to creating a positive environment for sporting events that is free of disruption to the athletic contest or game.”
Yes, because a positive environment is definitely one where you are threatened with suspension or removal if you don’t stand or you choose to exercise your constitutional rights during the national anthem.
The Shreveport Times notes that the Louisiana High School Athletic Association has not taken any official stance on the issue, noting that any decisions about how athletes should comport themselves during the anthem will be determined by each school or school district.
“The LHSAA is a principal’s organization whereas in these situations the LHSAA Rules and Regulations do not take precedence,” the association noted in 2016 when the issue originally arose when then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. “Therefore, any/all decisions related to individuals and/or teams’ expressions exhibited during any pre-event national anthem at a LHSAA regular season and/or postseason game, match, meet or contest, will be determined by each individual member school and/or member school’s school district.”
However, the argument has now boiled over, and ultimately turned into something it is inherently not, since y’all’s president decided to incite his cronies and insisted that NFL owners fire players who “disrespect the flag.”
Parkway High is not the only school taking a hard stance in the matter.
On Wednesday morning, Bossier Schools’ superintendent announced that there is an expectation that his student-athletes will stand during the national anthem at events.
“It is a choice for students to participate in extracurricular activities, not a right, and we at Bossier Schools feel strongly that our teams and organizations should stand in unity to honor our nation’s military and veterans,” Scott Smith said in a statement, noting that any discipline will be meted out by individual schools.
One high school noted that the punishments could range from “extra running to a one-game suspension.”
However, at least one school district in the state is doing it right and actually letting students exercise their First Amendment rights and stand or not stand as they see fit.
On Tuesday, Steven Grant, the principal of Green Oaks, which is under the Caddo Public School District, based in Shreveport, told the Times that his football team would stand—together with arms linked—during the national anthem when visiting Plain Dealing in Bossier Parish on Friday.
The Times notes that Caddo Parish seems to be taking a more progressive stance on the issue.
“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.