Taking a Knee in High School Football – Violation of Students’ Rights or Not?


As high school football enters another week, will high school players take a knee during the national anthem? The polarizing topic remains a point of discussion among school administrators, coaches, players, parents and fans. While some players signaled their support of the cause last week, two Texas teenagers were kicked off their high school football team for kneeling. The coach in that case made the two players immediately remove their uniforms and leave the field. The action raises many questions, including whether schools might be violating students’ rights if a prohibition or punishment is imposed? Dallas attorney Shonn Brown of Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst says it depends on the school’s policy.

It would be interesting to see what, if any, guidance can be gleaned from the school’s current policies. The students’ actions are certainly an exercise of their constitutional rights, which should not be abridged or disturbed by actions of the school. Additionally what is described as the coach’s action (the embarrassing manner in which he made them ‘exit’ and disrobe apparently) sounds extremely harsh, overly broad and an overreaction, assuming he was enforcing some policy. Absent some support in school policy, I question the school’s right to take this action. It is possible that in the absence of such support that the school infringed on these students’ constitutional rights.

 

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or sophia@androvett.com.

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