A 1st Amendment reminder on National Anthem protests | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A 1st Amendment reminder on National Anthem protests

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2016 at 12:02 PM

TAIKING A KNEE: Razorback basketball players. They were well within their rights. - KARK
  • KARK
  • TAIKING A KNEE: Razorback basketball players. They were well within their rights.

Evie Blad, a writer for Education Week who once toiled for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, offers a primer on what public schools can and cannot do if students take part in the movement to kneel during the National Anthem.

Short version: Students can't be punished for silent acts that don't disrupt school operations. And, no, the fact that they are "privileged" to participate in something — football, cheerleading — in which all students don't participate also does NOT open them to discipline.

Arkansas school people have demonstrated a varying understanding of this First Amendment protection. The University of Arkansas, happily, understood the principle when women's basketball players took a knee, though the furious public reaction forced it into PR mode in a number of respects. No need to be apologetic about defending the U.S. Constitution.

It is an educational opportumity, the article suggests. Yes. For both sides.

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