The Supreme Court ruled that students don't have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom—and that goes for the national anthem on the field, too. Forcing students to stand during the national anthem or punishing those who #TakeAKnee to protest racial injustice and police brutality would violate students’ First Amendment rights.
Our right to join in protest is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment. The right to free speech and the freedom to stand up, or kneel, for what you believe in includes our right to dissent – to express views that may be unpopular, controversial, or against the status quo.
Schools should respect students who embrace their constitutional rights and stand up to injustice – not punish them. And it would be patently unconstitutional for the school to do so.
Students, parents, teachers, community members: If your school threatens to punish students who decide to kneel during the national anthem, please get in touch with us.