A high school, in Bossier City, Louisiana, released a policy statement declaring that high school athletes that kneel during the national anthem will be subject to discipline, and even removal from the team.
Waylon Bates, Principal of Parkway High School sent a letter to parents, explaining that student-athletes who decides to not stand during pre-game national anthem ceremony could be subjected to reduce play time or removal from the team. In his statement, Principal Bates made it clear that all athletes are expected to, “stand in a respectful manner” during the anthem or risk “loss of playing time” and “removal from the team.”
The letter stated, “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.” And, concluded, “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.”
Bates decision faced immediate criticism by Black Lives Matter, and Social Justice activists, who saw it as a threat to students’ constitutional rights. “And it has begun. High schools are now following Trump’s order. Will kick off any players who don’t stand during the National Anthem,” tweeted Shaun King – a strange white man, and social justice activist, convinced that he is black.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana has come out against the Bates decision, arguing that, “state schools have no business forcing students to stand for patriotic rituals.” Executive Director Marjorie Esman, Louisiana ACLU even went so far as to claim, “Bossier Parish is threatening to punish students for peacefully protesting racial injustice and taking a principled position for freedom and equality. This is antithetical to our values as Americans and a threat to students’ constitutional rights.
She further argued, “Nearly 75 years ago, the Supreme Court rightly held that state schools have no business forcing students to stand for patriotic rituals. The Court also reminded public school administrators that part of their job is to train students for participation in our free society. This principle holds no less true today, and no less true on the playing field than it does in the classroom.”
Referring to the case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, where the Washington Post notes: Justice Robert Jackson wrote for a 6-to-3 majority that the state could not compel children to salute the flag. Reversing a court decision from just three years earlier, Jackson wrote, in the midst of war, what remains one of the enduring statements of confidence in what truly makes America great. “To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine,” he wrote, “is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds.”
And added, “Schools have no valid interest in turning their students into mouthpieces of government speech, full stop. Indeed, schools should respect students who embrace their constitutional rights and stand up to injustice – not punish them. And it would be patently unconstitutional for the school to do so.”
It is eternally curious to see democrats hypocritically and disingenuously evoke the Constitution, only when it suits them – and savage the document any time it is even mildly inconvenient. Additionally, a liberal complaining about state schools, “in turning their students into mouthpieces of government” is about as rich of a complaint as it gets…