Society

High School Students Sit For National Anthem (Photo)

| by Sarah Zimmerman
An Arkansas high schoolAn Arkansas high school

More than half a dozen high school students refused to stand for the national anthem during an assembly featuring Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The movement was inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has said that he will not stand for the anthem until there is "significant change," according to ABC.

He hopes his protest will bring light to police brutality and the marginalization and oppression faced by African-Americans in today's society.

"[I will not] stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said.

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Kaepernick, who initially sat during the anthem but now kneels, has sparked a revolution across the country, inspiring other professional athletes -- and now high school students -- to join in his protests.

During a school-wide assembly at Hall High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, a group of students refused to stand while the school band played the national anthem, instead choosing to remain in their seats. Their actions have sparked debate in the local community, according to KARK, and parents are discussing if it's right for the teens to protest in this manner. 

"There's nothing wrong with having your own beliefs, but be respectful," said one parent.

Other parents disagreed.

"I don't think anything is wrong with that," said another parent to KARK. "You should stand up for what you believe in, and no one should force you to do anything different."

Members of the school staff have also expressed approval of the kids' actions. 

"It made me proud because it let me know that they are thinking, and they are seeing what's going on in the United States of America," Hall High School head janitor William Hatten said to KARK. "The national anthem, the constitution, it wasn't meant for people of color, in my opinion. So, why should we represent something that we were not included in?"

The events in Arkansas don't appear to be an isolated incident. In Massachusetts, a high school football player took Kaepernick's example and knelt during the anthem, according to MassLive. He claims that he was suspended for one game after his protest, but that his punishment was later reversed after Black Lives Matter activists flooded his principal with phone calls.

Sources: ABC News, KARK, MassLive / Photo credits: Cliff/Flickr, KARK

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