HOUSTON – Public school districts are weighing in on the NFL anthem protests with policies of their own.
The New York Post reports school officials in Louisiana are going as far as to threaten to punish their student athletes if they choose to kneel. Some students could face suspensions or extra running, while one school principal says his students will be thrown off the team.
“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 playing. Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal,” wrote Principal Waylon Bates. “Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team.”
Houston ISD, however, says it will take the opposite approach under guidance set in board policy, which is based on previous court cases.
HISD released this statement to the media on Thursday, which indicates students will be allowed to choose whether or not they participate in anthem tradition:
It has been a tradition at HISD athletic events for participants and fans alike to stand in honor of the American flag and the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of such contests. HISD also protects the constitutional right of student athletes, as set forth explicitly in HISD Board Policy FNA (LEGAL), not to participate in that tradition. Specifically, the long standing United States Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette held that students may not be compelled to participate in patriotic observances, which include standing, saluting and reciting the pledge of allegiance. Accordingly, HISD will not mandate nor interfere in the actions of student athletes in observing or not observing the tradition of standing during the national anthem.