Questions raised after Fort Worth ISD addresses national anthem policy

Fort Worth ISD sparked a lot of questions when it issued a statement about its national anthem policy and student athletes

The statement from the district in part said "the district is strongly encouraging all students… to respect and obey the law." But there is no law requiring people to stand for the anthem.

It all comes as school districts try to come up with plans for students who wish to follow the lead of some professional athletes who protest social injustice by kneeling during the anthem.

The Fort Worth school district issued policy guidelines on the national anthem after football players told their coach at Dunbar High School they might want to protest.

“Students from Dunbar and students throughout the district. And it's not just a Fort Worth ISD issue. It's a regional, statewide and national issue,” said board member Jacinto Ramos Jr.

The district’s statement said it is "strongly encouraging all students, whether on the field or in the stands, to respect and obey the law."

Glenn Powe knew sooner or later his son, a freshman wide receiver for Dunbar High School, would deal with the issue of whether to kneel during the anthem.

"He loves football, and he watches the NFL. He's seen the stuff that goes on, so we'll see what happens,” Powe said. “It's the coach’s discretion, and you just never know what's going to go on. Kids, nowadays, maybe they'll do what they're supposed to do. Let's hope for the best.”

FOX 4 asked the district to clarify what it mean by obeying the law. The district responded, “The literal meaning is to do what the case laws have outlined regarding your own personal activities, as well as the activities of others."

"It's following the law. Not in a manner that we're suppressing young people voice. Quite the contrary,” Ramos said. “We are allowing young people to use their voice and use it in a peaceful manner that doesn't disrupt the level of education and what we believe the young people are looking to do."

Fort Worth's football season starts next week. It's a question the district felt compelled to address.

"Young people are coming forth. Family members are coming forth, all being done respectfully and understand what their rights are within our country,” Ramos said.

What if some students take a knee during the national anthem?

"The law clearly state what their constitutional rights are,” Ramos said. “If they choose to take a knee or protest in another other peaceful manner, FWISD will not be disciplining those young people.”

Coaches are now beginning the process of talking to their team about what a peaceful, law abiding protest would look like.

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