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.