A federal court in California has ruled that an athlete kneeling during the National Anthem at a school sponsored athletic event is a form of constitutionally protected speech. This issue has been brewing ever since the protest movement caught on with a significant number of NFL players. We knew it would spill over into high school athletics, and that litigation was inevitable. Now we have a reported case in which the court issued an injunction, ordering the school officials not to restrict “students from kneeling or sitting during the playing or singing of the National Anthem at extracurricular events, including athletic events.” The school was also ordered not to “require any action from Plaintiff or other students during the playing or singing of the National Anthem at extracurricular events, including athletic events.”
The court seemed to think it was a pretty simple and straightforward issue. Kneeling during the National Anthem is a form of symbolic speech. It did not cause, nor was it likely to cause, a material or substantial disruption of school activities. It sounds an awful lot like a student wearing a black armband to school to protest America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam.
The black armband case was Tinker v. Des Moines in 1965. The National Anthem case happened in 2017. Same issue. Same legal analysis. Same result. This case is V.A. v. San Pasqual Valley USD, decided by the federal court for the Southern District of California on December 21, 2017.
DAWG BONE: GET THE WORD TO THE COACHES.