Student Protest To National Anthem

Symone Washington, Staff Writer

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The national anthem has recently stirred controversy in classrooms and on the football field. People across the U.S. are in protest against actions taken toward the national anthem.

The OCPS district has made a statement regarding these protest saying, “ When the national anthem is played, students and all civilians shall stand at attention, men removing the headdress, except when such headdress is worn for religious purposes… Upon written request by his or her parent, the student must be excused from reciting the [pledge of allegiance], including standing and placing the right hand over his or her heart. When the pledge is given, unexcused students must show full respect to the flag by standing at attention.”

Being that this is causing so much friction in the classroom, should schools even play the national anthem? This controversy has recently lead to students protesting to be removed from their school’s football team. In Houston Texas, two football players have been kicked off their high school’s football team for kneeling and raising their fist during the national anthem. Proceeding these actions, the Christian academy’s head coach Ronnie Mitchem, told the two players to take off their uniform, and leave the game.

According to the KTRK TV station, Mitchem is a U.S. military veteran, who previously told the players not to protest the anthem, as it is offensive to him and other veterans. One of the players spoke out to say he has a family full of veterans but still feels as if what he and his fellow team member did is their right.

Similar school reaction to student protest took place in the Tinker v. Des Moines case when students were warned that protesting the Vietnam war would result in suspension. Despite these consequences, students still proceded to protest the war by wearing black armbands to school.

Schools should still play the national anthem because those who support it should have the opportunity to stand up and recite the pledge. I do not stand up because I am not going to stand up in respect for something that does not support me or my fellow African Americans. The national anthem specifically says “With liberty and justice for all,” but African Americans in America do not get justice. African Americans are being targeted, purely for the color of their skin and in the recent controversy, it is our right to protest for change.