Waylon Bates (above) is the principal of Parkway High School in Bossier Parish, Louisiana
A high school in northwest Louisiana is forbidding student athletes on its sports teams to demonstrate or protest during the national anthem, it was learned on Thursday.
The principal of Parkway High School in Bossier Parish wrote a letter to students and parents on Thursday warning them against acts of protest, which he terms ‘a disruption.’
‘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,’ the principal, Waylon Bates, wrote.
‘Failure to comply will result in a loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal. Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team.’
A copy of the letter was posted to Twitter by journalist Shaun King.
The principal, however, was warned by the American Civil Liberties Union that imposing a ban on students kneeling during the national anthem was a violation of their First Amendment rights.
Bates wrote a letter to students and parents on Thursday warning them against acts of protest, which he terms ‘a disruption’
‘Nearly 75 years ago, the Supreme Court rightly held that state schools have no business forcing students to stand for patriotic rituals,’ the ACLU said.
‘Schools have no valid interest in turning their students into mouthpieces of government speech, full stop.
‘Indeed, schools should respect students who embrace their constitutional rights and stand up to injustice – not punish them. And it would be patently unconstitutional for the school to do so.’
The issue of athletes protesting the national anthem became headline news thanks to President Donald Trump’s call for National Football League owners to fire players who kneel during the Star Spangled Banner.
President Donald Trump overwhelmingly won Bossier Parish in last year’s election, defeating Hillary Clinton by 47 percent. In Louisiana, Trump won by 20 percent. Parkway HIgh School is seen in the above stock photo
Trump overwhelmingly won Bossier Parish in last year’s election, defeating Hillary Clinton by 47 percent. In Louisiana, Trump won by 20 percent, according to The Washington Post.
During a political rally in Alabama last week, Trump referred to athletes demonstrating during the anthem as ‘sons of b****es.’
‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired”,’ Trump said.
The president’s comments ignited widespread criticism and backlash from the sports world, setting off a national debate over the limits of protest and demonstrations of patriotism.
Trump drew a rebuke from the NFL on Thursday after he said football team owners are afraid of their players, his latest criticism of NFL players kneeling during the US national anthem.
The Republican president told ‘Fox & Friends’ in an interview broadcast on Thursday that he is friends with many NFL team owners and they were ‘in a box’ over how to handle the kneeling protests of racial disparities in the country.
During Thursday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, players and some fans locked arms in a moment of unity. A small number of players on the Bears knelt during the national anthem in protest
‘They say, “We are in a situation where we have to do something”. I think they’re afraid of their players, you want to know the truth. And I think it’s disgraceful,’ he said.
Trump did not elaborate on his comments.
The NFL rejected the president’s remarks as not factual.
‘There was a statement that our owners are afraid of our players and that owners requested intervention by one of our political leaders to pick this issue off. Those statements are not accurate,’ the NFL’s chief spokesman, Joe Lockhart, said in a conference call with reporters.
During Thursday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, players and some fans locked arms in a moment of unity.
A small number of players on the Bears knelt during the national anthem in protest.