Rochester Students Told They Must Stand for Anthem, RPS Says Nope
An August 30th Century High School Pep Fest raised eyebrows after the school's Athletic Director, Mark Kuisle, said students must stand for the National Anthem.
What Was Said Exactly At Century High School's Pep Fest?
You can listen to it here, it's ready to play at just about the start of the comments, or you can scroll and see the transcript after the video.
“When we play the national anthem, you are to stand, remain silent, or sing the national anthem with us. It is an opportunity to remember, honor those veterans who have helped us protect our country, served our country, and kept our freedoms for what they are today. So, please, it’s very important that (unintelligible...maybe "when"?) we do a national anthem that you are very respectful, you stand. If you want to sing, great. If you don’t, just stand and be quiet and that’s fine, as well.”
The directions from the AD are contrary to legal decisions on the matter (click here for more information on that) , as well as contrary to Minnesota State High School League's (MSHSL) policy which states,
"Sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem is a protected First Amendment right, and we cannot disallow an athlete or any other persons (coach, official, cheerleader) from sitting or kneeling during the Anthem." (click here to see the entire presentation)
What Does the Rochester Public Schools Say?
I reached out to the Rochester Public Schools Interim Superintendent for a comment, and from Heather Nessler, Executive Director of Communications, Marketing, and Technology, received this statement...
"I hope that the students in Rochester Public Schools will choose to stand for the national anthem when it is played at school assemblies and competitions and performances and other events. I personally choose to stand for that anthem because I believe that despite the failures of our nation's troubled past, our country is, on the whole, a force for good in the lives of its people and the people of the world.
That said, I also deeply respect and understand the decision that some of our students and our staff members might make to sit or kneel during the national anthem due to the injustices of our past and our present.
In a nation that was founded by revolutionaries, nothing could be more American than respectfully protesting what citizens believe to be unjust. I encourage our students to stand up or sit down for what they believe in at this important moment and for the rest of their lives."
Kent Pekel, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
Personal Note: This is, I think, very good advice from MSHSL -
"Talk to your team and fans about not reacting to what another team does during the Anthem."
Social Media is full of people sounding off about what everyone does. Often, people say, "Mind your own business" and in this case, I think it applies nicely. If someone sitting during the Anthem offends you, what would happen if you just ignored it?
As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
On an entirely different topic...