SCHOOL LAW ADVISORY
Volume 30, No. 1
Readers will recall that the Fall 2017 issue of this publication included an article discussing the issue of free speech rights and students taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. Lacking guidance from any court on the issue, that article focused on prior case law to offer some thoughts and predictions on how courts (and schools) might address the issue going forward. Following the publication of that article, at least one court has now addressed the issue. This article describes that case and offers readers some thoughts on the court’s conclusions.
V.A. was a high school senior at San Pasqual Valley High School in California. In the fall of 2017 V.A., a member of the school’s varsity football and basketball teams, decided to begin silently kneeling during the National Anthem to express “his personal feelings and concern about racial injustice in our country.” V.A. took a knee at a home football game in September of 2017 without incident. The next week, at an away game, he again kneeled peacefully during the National Anthem. Following the game, however, students from the opposing school made racial slurs to the students from V.A.’s school, threated to “force” V.A. to stand, and sprayed a water bottle at the students.
In response to the incident, San Pasqual Valley High’s Superintendent issued a memorandum requiring students and coaches to stand, and remain standing, during playing or singing of the National Anthem. The memorandum indicated that violations could result in removal from the team and “subsequent teams during the school year.”... To continue reading, visit https://schoollaw.com/school-law-advisory.
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