DESOTO, Texas –The DeSoto High School volleyball team is getting a lot of attention. Videos and photos of the team kneeling during the national anthem at a recent game are circulating across social media.
The kneeling stance was a peaceful, non-violent act, according to administrators, where the teens communicated their frustrations and fears over national issues.
The team’s act of protest is getting support and criticism. Community member Robert Jefferson says he was proud to see young people speaking out.
"We really need to focus on how they are treating people now,” Jefferson said.
The team’s political stance played out as parts of the country were protesting controversial police involved shootings of two black men. The killing of Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Okla., and the shooting death of Keith Scott in Charlotte, N.C.
“We can’t keep being silent,” said one mom as she picked up her child from DeSoto High School. "We have to say something. They can’t keep killing us.”
The country’s criticism of athletes kneeling during the national anthem has been playing out for weeks. It was an act of protest San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he demonstrated against racial oppression and inequality.
DeSoto’s volleyball team also has its critics.
”I think there's better ways to protest stuff than doing what they are doing,” said Bobby Burleson, of DeSoto. He says he believes the kneeling stance is disrespectful to service members and police.
“I don’t agree with that. I think everybody ought to honor the flag,” Burleson added.
The student athletes appear to have the support of administrators.
In statement from the School Board President, Carl Sherman, Junior said, “Our students are constantly exposed to the realities facing our Nation today, specifically the reality of what it means to be a minority in a society with implicit biases.”
DeSoto ISD Superintendent, Dr. David Harris added, “As our nation struggles with very real issues, we in DeSoto ISD are teaching our children they have avenues to express themselves and that includes the First Amendment.”
Copyright 2016 WFAA