The controversy over the passive protests that NFL players have been making during pre-game National Anthem ceremonies has been racially divisive. It has also raised legitimate concerns over how the constitutional rights of people are being violated due to the negative outbursts of “patriotic” people like Donald Trump.
This inflammatory political hijacking of serious American issues has become so prevalent that it has been injected into the nation’s public school system among society’s children. The latest example of this was made in Louisiana’s Bossier Parish.
The individual who made the controversial injection was Scott Smith, the Superintendent of the public school district of Bossier Parish. Smith has made it very clear who’s side he’s on in this nagging debate.
According to the Shreveport Times, a USA Today-owned newspaper, Smith has issued a ban against all passive protests by student athletes who participate in any sports program at any school inside of the Bossier Parish public school district.
Violators of Scott’s new district-wide policy will be forced to serve a one-game suspension, as well as other additional punishments if the new policy’s rules are not obeyed.
“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,” Smith said in a statement, according to the Shreveport Times.
Each individual school will have the right issue their own set of consequences for violations. However, this latest heavy-handed disciplinary move by the Bossier Parish public school district has put civil rights organizations on high alert. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already issued a public statement in direct opposition to Smith’s new district-wide policy.
“Louisiana schools are on notice: Forcing students to stand during the national anthem or punishing those who #TakeAKnee would violate students’ First Amendment rights,” the ACLU said in a statement online. Another crippling lawsuit is the last thing most of these struggling public school districts would want right now.