Florida district: Students need written parental permission to kneel during anthem

In a remarkable decision on the interpretation of a student’s right to free expression, a Florida county school district has announced that it is requiring students to have written parental permission to kneel during the playing of a national anthem before a school event.

As reported by Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV, Orange County Public Schools have reportedly studied state law regarding both the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, and determined that they should be treated identically for the purposes of student protocol. According to Florida state law, a student may kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance if they receiving written permission to do so. Otherwise they are compelled to stand.

There’s little question that this particular interpretation of state law is a controversial one. It will be seen as a blatant attempt to limit the opportunity of young men who feel oppressed and overlooked to express their mind and act in line with their conscience.

At least one Florida coach has said he’s on the side of his players, no matter what they decide to do.

“I have to stay neutral, but whatever they do, I’m going to support them. That’s really between that individual and their family,” Jones High School football coach Elijah Williams told WFTV.


This past weekend several news organizations copied a story that was inaccurate and circulated it among their readers/viewers. It has to do with the school district's policy regarding the National Anthem. Please see our accurate policy as follows. It should be noted that the bloggers or media outlets which printed and circulated inaccurate information did not attempt to contact Orange County Public Schools before reposting or reprinting an inaccurate story.

"If a student or staff member kneels or otherwise demonstrates their objection during the singing or playing of our National Anthem at a public event, there is no legal mechanism by which to discipline the individual as a result of this act. However, if their actions are disruptive, discipline may be imposed. Unlike the provisions in the law regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, a written note from a parent is not required. The OCPS Office of Legal Services will be reviewing this matter to insure compliance with all applicable legal decisions and statutes."


Undoubtedly Unconstitutional. Students do not require parental permission for other forms of Constitutionally protected personal expression (wearing of religious symbols, school support T-shirts, writing for the school newspaper, expressing opinions in class, voting or participating in Student government, etc.). 

In fact, the school is making something compulsory as a view UNLESS the parents provide permission. That is not "freedom" of expression in any manner.