High school violates students' constitutional right by banning taking a knee

The student athletes could get kicked off their teams if they dare to protest

Published September 30, 2017 9:00PM (EDT)

Members of  the Detroit Lions take a knee during the playing of the national anthem, September 24, 2017 (Getty/Rey Del Rio)
Members of the Detroit Lions take a knee during the playing of the national anthem, September 24, 2017 (Getty/Rey Del Rio)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


Donald Trump has made clear his opposition to the First Amendment with a series of rage tweets against NFL players who protest police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. It appears some high schools are now taking their cue from the president, demanding student athletes stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" or suffer consequences ranging from losing time on the field to being kicked off sports teams.

In direct violation of students’ constitutional rights, Parkway High School in Louisiana issued a letter to student athletes and parents mandating that players stand for patriotic displays or be punished. Writer Shaun King tweeted a copy of the letter, dated September 28, to followers:

The LHSAA (Louisiana High School Athletic Association) allows school principals to make decisions regarding student participation in the National Anthem while competing in athletic contests and games. Parkway High School requires student 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. Parkway High School is committed to creating a positive environment for sporting events that is free of disruption to the athletic contest or game.

The letter is signed by Principal Waylon Bates. If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts on the school’s proactive censoring of its students, Bates can be reached via email or by phone at 318-759-2200.

By Kali Holloway

Kali Holloway is the senior director of Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute. She co-curated the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts 2017 summer performance and film series, “Theater of the Resist.” She previously worked on the HBO documentary Southern Rites, PBS documentary The New Public and Emmy-nominated film Brooklyn Castle, and Outreach Consultant on the award-winning documentary The New Black. Her writing has appeared in AlterNet, Salon, the Guardian, TIME, the Huffington Post, the National Memo, and numerous other outlets.

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Constitutional Rights First Amendment High School National Anthem Protests Nfl Protest