The principal of Lely High School in Naples, Florida, has made standing during the national anthem mandatory for all his students.
“Let me be crystal clear: When that anthem is being played, you are to stand and you are to be quiet,” Principal Ryan Nemeth said during the school’s morning announcement, according to the local ABC affiliate WINK, reports the Miami Herald.
“It’s something I’m very passionate about and it’s something you will do,” WBBH quoted him as saying.
Student Adrianas Pena, for one, objected to the policy. A member of Lely high’s basketball team, she said, “He shouldn’t be ejecting people just because they don’t wanna stand,” reports WBBH.
Parent Karen Miller, however, told the same station that she believes in obeying orders. “I’ve told my children that they will stand and respect the flag,” she said. “You are on school property. If this is the school policy, then you need to follow the school policy.”
Principal Nemeth’s decree is obviously in reaction to the protest movement among athletes who are using the national anthem to make a statement.
It all began when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to the Aug. 26 game with the Green Bay Packers.
His protest has since spread to other players in the NFL, who have been joined by soccer player Megan Rapinoe of the Seattle Reign and Mara Green of the Florida State Seminoles volleyball team.
According to a Reuters poll released on Sept. 14, most Americans believe Kaepernick and the other protesters are being unpatriotic, but defended their right to free speech, notes the Miami Herald.