Quiet protests seem to arouse the strangest responses these days. This is especially true in the NFL, where many players have decided to sit during the National Anthem in protest of police abuse and other racial disparities against people of color that are still present in the United States.
These players have endured countless verbal attacks, from pundits and fans alike. There have also been instances of support from across the country.
But a black student in Farmington Hills, Michigan, a suburb just outside of Detroit, was on the receiving end of physical violence for his own silent protest.
Stone Chaney, an African American sixth-grader in the school district, chose not to stand during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. “I don’t stand because I don’t pledge to a flag,” he explained to WDIV.
That was apparently enough to stir something in one of the teachers’ aides, and Chaney soon found himself being forced to stand. “The teacher consultant comes up behind me and snatches me out of my chair violently,” he said.
You’d think that an act of violent reproach like this would temper other administrators in the days that followed. But just the opposite happened — on the next day, Chaney again refused to stand. He received a verbal scolding for his choice to sit down.
The incidents, occurring in just the first few weeks of the school year, have apparently left Chaney disillusioned. “I don’t feel safe going to that school anymore because I don’t know what they’re going to do next,” he said.
Contrary to what these school administrators may believe, a student cannot be compelled to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance or any other action that is similar, like the National Anthem. The Supreme Court ruled, all the way back in 1943, that compelling students to stand for such moments is in violation of their First Amendment rights.
Students across the country should understand that they are allowed to refuse to stand up during the Pledge or National Anthem — for whatever reason they deem they’re doing so.
Watch the video below to see why Colin Kaepernick protests the National Anthem during NFL games:
Featured image via Wikimedia/Public domain