Kids At 34 Louisiana Schools Told To Stand For Anthem

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A Louisiana parish school district has told its 34 schools that kids should stand during the national anthem prior to sporting events.

The report comes as reaction continues to spread to protests by NFL players, some of whom have been kneeling during the national anthem, according to HuffPost.

Bossier Parish Superintendent Scott Smith said he would support decisions taken by school principals to make sure student-athletes stand.

"In Bossier Parish, we believe when a student chooses to join and participate on a team, the players and coaches should stand when our National Anthem is played in a show of respect," read Smith's statement, according to HuffPost. "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."

Waylon Bates, the principal at Parkway High School, has already issued a memo threatening protesters with punishment.

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"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," Bates wrote. "Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal."

The American Civil Liberties Union has already indicated it may challenge the Bossier Parish statement on the grounds that it violates students' First Amendment rights.

Some players on NFL teams have been either kneeling or linking arms during the pre-game national anthem in reaction to President Donald Trump's Sept. 22 suggestion that team owners should fire players who use the national anthem as a stage for protests.

The idea came to the NFL field in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the anthem in an effort to raise awareness about police violence.

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"People don't realize what's really going on in this country," said Kaepernick. "There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust. People aren't being held accountable for. And that's something that needs to change."

A CNN poll, conducted by SSRS between Sept. 26 and 28 among 1,037 people, suggests that Americans are divided on the issue of players kneeling during the anthem. The poll found that 43 percent of respondents believe players are doing the right thing by kneeling during the anthem, compared to 49 percent who think they are doing the wrong thing.

A divide also exists on the question of whether professional sports leagues should force players to stand during the anthem, with 49 percent believing they should and 47 percent saying no.

Six in ten participants stated they felt Trump made a mistake by criticizing players for protesting.

Sources: HuffPost, CNN / Featured Image: Anthony Inswasty/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Lorie Shaull/Wikimedia Commons, Kevin Ward/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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