There are several school districts in which the students are obliged to have a written excuse from their parents to kneel during the anthem.
Public Schools in Florida’s Orange County have announced this week that their students must have a parental permission if they are about to kneel during the performance of the national anthem.
The move is coming after students knelt down in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick – quarterback of 49ers in his protest against social injustice in America. The move happened in at least one school district.
District officials told WSBTV that they are simply following state law regarding the pledge of allegiance, a strict and controversial statute that is in a way requiring unadulterated participation in patriotic gestures.
The statute reads, in part:
Each district school board can and may adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district, programs of a patriotic nature in order to encourage greater respect for the government of the United States and its national anthem and flag … 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
There are some school districts that will punish students that wont follow this law. In Collier County, one principal told his students that they are going to be sent home if they don’t stand during the anthem during sporting events – is being reported by WFLA.
“You are going to stand out and you are going to be quiet about it,” Principal Ryan Nemeth of Lely High School announced. “If you don’t, you will be immediately sent home and you will not have a refund on your ticket.
These statutes are somehow connected to Kaepernick (and the right to protest in general), but they are also less strict than in other countries.
In Washington state, on the contrary, students have the right to choose if they actually want to take part in the pledge:
[Schools] shall cause appropriate flag exercises to be held in each classroom at the beginning of the school day, and in every school at the opening of all school assemblies, at which exercises those pupils so desiring shall recite the following salute to the flag.
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