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Will local high school sports teams join the #TakeAKnee movement this Friday?

Will local high school sports teams join the #TakeAKnee movement this Friday? (File Image)

Friday Night Football! It’s the grand stage for high school sports and possibly for high school demonstrations come Friday.

Search the words "high school" and "kneel" online and you’ll find countless pictures of student athletes taking a knee. The majority are dated 2016, before President Trump’s remarks from last Friday at a campaign Rally in Alabama calling on NFL owners to fire players for kneeling during the national anthem.

Throughout Sunday and on Monday night, hundreds of NFL players and teams responded by kneeling, linking arms in "unity" or deciding to not be on the field at all during the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner."

The question now is will high school students do the same?

“I don’t know what to expect on the local front where the kids are going to sort of internalize this,” said Arlington parent Richard Sheehe. “They’re going to see what’s happening on a professional level and they’re going to find their own way of expressing it or not.”

Sheehe has talked to his son about the demonstrations.

“When I see a protest and my kids ask me about a protest and how it’s being handled, I almost point to how our leaders deal with it because it takes a certain amount of grace," said Sheehe.

Arlington parent of four Tarina Ewell has a different approach.

“I keep them away from that,” she said. “I need them to stay focused on their schooling.”

When asked what she would say if her child told her they were going to kneel this Friday she replied, “They have the right to do that.”

But Ewell says she would want them to do it for the right reason.

“If they are doing it because they see other people doing it then me as a parent I have to teach them," she said.

ABC7 reached out to school districts across the D.C. Metropolitan area for comment. Here’s what we received:

Prince George County Public Schools

“There is no prohibition against an expression such as taking a knee during the national anthem. In fact, Prince George's County Public Schools has an administrative procedure to guide us on "Religious and Patriotic Expression." Under Patriotic Exercises, it reads "No student or staff member will be compelled to participate in patriotic exercises, nor will any student be penalized or embarrassed for failure to participate."

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Stafford County Public Schools

"Making Stafford County Public School students feel free to express themselves in a respectful manner is of the utmost importance. Here at SCPS we believe in growing learners, excellence, respect, integrity, community and providing a safe and comfortable environment for all students. As a place for education, we are committed to providing learning opportunities for people of all backgrounds. We will always respect and protect the rights of freedom from discrimination that are crucial for the learning environment. Last school year a couple of students decided to kneel during the national anthem. No disciplinary measures were taken, furthermore, School Board policy 3302, which states that no student shall be compelled to recite the pledge. Students can remain quietly standing or sitting and shall not distract or disrupt others. SCPS is committed to offering a welcoming, and inclusive community for all students."

Fairfax County Public Schools

"FCPS has an obligation to respect its students’ rights to freedom of expression through speech, assembly, petition, and other lawful means. This is particularly important on matters of public concern as long as the students’ actions do not prohibit others from participating in the anthem or cause a substantial disruption to the event. FCPS would see this as an opportunity to engage with students through school activities such as asking them to discuss, write, or debate about why one may choose to stand or kneel during the anthem, the underlying issues behind the protests, or how the act could be perceived."

Arlington County Public Schools

"We recognize that students all have the right to free speech and personal expression. This includes a student’s choice about standing for the National Anthem at games. As long as students are not disruptive in the classroom, during the school day or at school events, we recognize and respect their constitutional right to express their personal opinions."

DC Public Schools referred ABC7 to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Montgomery and Stafford County Public Schools did not get back to us for this story.


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