To kneel, or not to kneel, that’s the question athletes at several Louisiana high schools are going to have to consider very carefully in the days ahead. The fallout over the NFL kneel-down protests targeting Trump and the nation’s police force continues, as lines are drawn and sides were chosen.
But some schools are taking proactive steps to nip the problem in the bud before protests take their campuses by storm.
As reported by the New York Post, school administrators throughout Louisiana are playing a dangerous game with their respective school’s athletic programs, as they’re threatening significant punishment should an athlete decide to kneel during the national anthem.
Extra running, suspensions, and even being kicked off the team are all on the table so it seems.
One principle from Bossier Parrish that supports these extreme measures has already sent letters home to students’ parents, letting them know that if their child tries to protest or cause a raucous, disciplinary actions will be taken.
“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 Waylon Bates, principal of Parkway High School.
“Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team,” he said. “Parkway High School is committed to creating a positive environment for sporting events that is free of disruption to the athletic contest or game.”
Many of these directives are emanating out of Bossier Parish, wear the district Superintendent Scott Smith sent out a memo last week condemning the widespread protests.
“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,” Smith wrote.
He added, “Our principals and their coaching staffs have sole discretion in determining consequences should a student athlete elect not to stand during the National Anthem and they are making their expectations known to players and their families this week…It is an honor for Bossier Schools to pay homage to the American flag and stand during the National Anthem. May we never take that for granted.”
This message was sent to nearly 3 dozen schools in the district, and has emboldened many to act. It remains to be seen if cracking down early is the right move, as it could just fan the flames of protests and instigate a student revolt. But it’s hard to blame them for taking such actions, considering that protests will also bring trouble should they go unchallenged.
It’s a dicey situation for schools and administrators, one that looks like a lose-lose. No matter what they do, one side’s going to be upset, it’s just a matter of choosing the least bad option at this point.
Source: New York Post