To Kneel or Not to Kneel

Reported By: Gabriella Stalter

SANY0684If you had the opportunity, would you stand up for, or rather kneel, for what you believe in.


Players of the NFL are overwhelming the media with their “voice.” Last year, former NFL Quarterback, of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick took the action of kneeling down during the national anthem. Kaepernick knelt during the anthem because he believed his voice, on police brutality against african americans, could be heard. This was the beginning of a repercussion.

After Kaepernick took a stand, or rather a knee, his name and face began to spread. As a result of Kaepernick’s kneeling, in 2016, more and more teams and players in the NFL are kneeling. For those who are not kneeling, they are locking arms as a sign of unity. The players who are kneeling are also being “booed” because many people in the country believe that this is a sign of disrespect, not only for the country, but for those men and women who fight to protect. On the other hand, some people believe that the NFL players have the right to speak their mind and to take action to portray their points. However, this has gotten the president involved. Current President Donald Trump believes that the NFL should fire any player who refuses to stand during the anthem. With this being a political matter, and an inter-sport matter, a bigger question has been raised in the communities. “Are schools allowed to force their students to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?”

This question is well debated, even though there is a definitive answer. There was a U.S Supreme Court  case in 1943. It was called West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette. “The justices ruled that legally, no student in a public school had to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, and that forcing someone to recite it is a violation of the First Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” Following this case, the Supreme Court passed a ruling stating that “schools cannot require students to recite the Pledge or stand for the Pledge. Students cannot be required to leave the room while other students are reciting the Pledge, obtain parental approval to be exempt from reciting, or explain or justify themselves if they choose not to recite the Pledge. Teachers also may not lecture students about patriotism or respect of the flag or the the like if a student refuses to stand, as a way to influence students to participate.” However, even though this rule is put into place only 7 out of the 50 states abide by it. The other 43 states require public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In some cases, students who are taking after the NFL players, are being kicked out. Over the weekend, two teenagers from Texas were kicked off their football team for kneeling during the anthem. Likewise, in northwest Louisiana, high schools are threatening to kick athletes from teams if they do not participate in the anthem. This may not be completely legal, but it is happening. According to Mr. Barber, “there is no policy in place, and there never will be.”

So far, there has been no athlete in our school to take a knee during the anthem. Mr. Capral and Mr. Harington quoted, “Friday night’s homecoming game was the first big game we have had since the professional season has started. We were looking, and thankfully we did not see anyone from either the Horseheads or Corning team kneel.”


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