Week after protest, Garland players stand for national anthem

Garland ISD is standing behind students who choose to kneel for the national anthem, citing the first amendment.

Last week, players from Garland High School and Lakeview Centennial kneeled during the games. FOX 4 wanted to follow up on the controversy this week at the Garland vs Garland South game, but the district asked us to leave.

Neither team took a knee Friday night. A rep for Garland ISD asked FOX 4 to leave saying we didn't have clearance for the game. After we told them what the story was about, a spokesperson said they want to focus on the great things their kids are doing and not controversies.

Before FOX 4 was told to leave, some parents shared their thoughts on the students' protest and the district's stance.

Both South Garland and Garland High School teams were on their feet for the national anthem at Friday night's game. It was a different take on the anthem after some members on the Garland team kneeled during the anthem on September 29.

“I'm not thrilled with it,” said parent Marian Kirby. “I believe we should stand for the anthem. I believe we should have our hand on our heart. I believe we should be singing and looking at the flag.” 

Garland ISD sent a statement in response to the students' protest, saying “all of us in Garland ISD fully respect our service men and women, our flag, and our national anthem.”

But they went on to say they can't make students stand for the anthem, saying “students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

“I felt like it was their right to do so,” said parent Traci McGill. “I didn't have a problem with that because we live in a country where that's your right. And the school district stands by them. Our superintendent stands by them. It's their right.”

Frisco ISD is taking a similar stance to Garland, saying students are allowed to kneel for the anthem under their first amendment rights. But other schools aren't on board.

On September 29, a football coach at a private Christian school outside of Houston kicked two players off the team immediately after one knelt and another raised a first in protest. The coach is a Marine veteran who says he told all the players ahead of time their career with his team would be over if they protested during the anthem.

“I think they shouldn't be doing it,” said parent Rita Kirby. “But then I respect what they're doing it for.”

“We live in a society now kids are in social media,” McGill said. “They know what's going on and the injustice that's going on. They know.”

No matter what side of the issue they were on, parents agreed with the district's stance on the issue, saying it's ultimately the students’ right to kneel or stand.

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