A federal court has ruled that a high school football player in California can’t be forced to stand during the national anthem before football games.
The student, identified as a Native American football player, and referred to in court documents as “V.A.,” was copying NFL players with the anti-police protests, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The San Pasqual Valley Unified School District had passed rules requiring players to stand during the national anthem before the player knelt, the newspaper reported.
The Washington Times reported that the court said that school district was impeding on the student’s first amendment rights and said the district could intervene only when a student’s exercise of free speech or expression threatens to disrupt the learning environment.
“We are pleased with this outcome,” Katie Traverso, V.A.’s attorney, said in a news release. “Students like our client who conscientiously carry their values and ideals with them, cannot be silenced or directed on what to say or not say by their school in this manner.”
She said V.A. will seek a permanent injunction banning the rule. The court’s decision comes two months after two Texas high school students were kicked off a private football team for similar protests during the national anthem.
The reaction on social media was mixed.
“Don’t ban, just bench,” said an Alan Lawrence on the Facebook page of The Hill. “Unless he is a superstar, then he’ll play no matter what because winning is everything.”
“I agree they would be able to kneel if they please,” said a Jim Cortez on The Hill’s Facebook page. “However, that doesn’t mean they need to play. They can practice kneeling all night long on the sidelines.”
Do you think that high schools should be able to enforce rules about their players not kneeling during the anthem? We’d like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.