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Navigating The Intersection of Protests, School Policies, and Constitutional Rights

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Human-Written

Words: 1507 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 1507|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Protests during the national anthem have been occurring since 1968 where the first group to protest was at the summer Olympics. Track and field runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the playing of the national anthem in a silent protest where they were later suspended and made the Olympic team get multiple death threats. In today’s generation that would have been seen as brave but in the 1960’s it was viewed far different (Zastrov, 2018, 158). Protesting can come in all variations from strikes and parades along streets and at particular venues. In some cases, it can be peaceful or in extreme cases turn aggressive and violent causing a bigger problem than the clause they are fighting for.

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Not only have a large number of players in the NFL protested over the past five years during the national anthem, but young High School players have also chosen to follow in their footsteps. In Lancing, Michigan four football players for Lancing Catholic High School were benched for even stating their intention to silently protest during the national anthem. Lynn III approached the athletic board and asked if he could in-fact kneel during the national anthem, the school’s first initial response was they would give Lynn their full support, but later retracted their statement and told him not to kneel. The school said that they would give consequences to all student-athletes who participate in a protest during the national anthem. Lynn III stated after receiving the news which he stated “I get they are a private school and they can do what they want… But that doesn’t make it humane and that does not make it OK that they can do that because that still is my right to peaceful protest………. I told the school officials that I feel like you’re trying to silence me and it feels like you’re not giving me the right to do what Americans should be able to do”. (Zastrow, 2018, 158-159).

In New York and Louisiana, two private schools stated that if anyone chooses to protest during a school-sponsored event there would be serious disciplinary action. Both of these schools believe that participating in extracurricular activities is a choice, not a right. The two schools that stated the previous comments would punish student-athletes for participating in protests the schools are “committed to creating a positive environment for sporting events that is free of disruption to the athletic contest or game” (Zastrow, 2018, 160).

Two high school student-athletes have kicked off the team the football team after they silently protested where Cedric Ingram-Lewis raised his fist and his cousin also on the, decided to kneel. The coach of the team, Ronnie Mitchen, a veteran of the United States Marine corps who was a practicing pastor in the surrounding area. After the protest, he decided to kick the two student-athletes of the team he stated: “I let those guys do the protest. But the rule was, if you did the protest, you wouldn’t be on the team”. The head coach gave them the option and made it clear what the consequences would be. The head coach is trying to not only teach players to be the best athletes they could be but to also be respectful and to be a man (Zastrow, 2018, 159)

The previous examples of protests from the high school student-athletes are whether or not the school administrators or sports coaches have the legal authority to punish students who take part in a peaceful protest. In addressing this legally, one of the biggest fundamental rights of the United States Constitution is the First Amendment which gives every American the right to their freedom of speech, religion, and assembly (U.S CONST. amend. I.). In the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (U.S CONST. amend. I.).

High Schools that function as state actors, the protections afforded by the United States Constitution are attached to the students that attend the high school. Each high school has a code of conduct rules or handbook which each individual who attends the school should follow and have agreed to follow the terms and conditions as they attend the school. All public high school is state actors, but all private high schools are also considered state actors if they voluntary members to a public high school sports organization. Schools could also point to Title IV, section 8 of the United States Code, which states “no disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America” (4 U.S.C . § 8 (2018), as any type of action of silent protest during the time of the national anthem can be seen as disrespectful. If the sporting event is a school-sponsored event the high school officials can punish may lawfully punish their student-athletes if they have justification behind the punishment in how it affects teaching goals at the high school. High school officials would be able to punish and lawfully prohibit students from protesting at school-sponsored events as they will be related to “legitimate pedagogical concern”. Day to day life high school teachers could argue that they try to teach their pupils various positive life values and to respect others views and the one’s country.

The protests in High School occurred due to the young athletes following in their sporting hero footsteps who they watch compete in NBA and NFL. The major beginning in protest started back in 1995 where NBA star Abdul-Rauf where he would either continue stretching during the national anthem or pray with his hands locked and his eyes closed. The first couple of times it was not noticed or in the social media eye as they thought nothing more of the situation. Until, it carried on for the rest of the season, where it became a much bigger issue (Zastrow, 2018, 160).

The first NFL star to ever protest was quarterback Colin Kaepernick, where the first two times he protested went unnoticed in America. Kaepernick decided to sit during the national anthem on the sidelines, but it was only in the third preseason game was when questions began to be started and raised about sitting during the national anthem. To take it a step further to get more recognition Kaepernick decided to kneel next to his teammates on the sideline to gain more attention to why he was protesting, which he was successful in. He kneeled the whole 2016 season until he became a free agent at the end, in the 2016 season they did not receive as much social media attention as they did in the 2017 NFL season (Galloway, 2019, 528). The NFL is a private entity and each team within the NFL is also a private entity. As the NFL and teams within are not state actors they do not receive the same first amendments protections and guarantees as against the governments. As the NFL and its team are private entity’s player discipline is regulated by the NLRA (National Labor Relations Act). The NLRA follows no laws such as federal, state, or local government laws or rules. Most relevant to this issue is Section 7 and Section 8(a)(1). Section 7 protects employees’ participating in protected concerted activity from retaliation or discipline from their employer for partaking in protected activity (NRLA, 2019). Section 8 (a)(1) is an unfair labor practice act, if an employer is found to be engaging in an unfair labor practice it would result in the employer being subject to sanctions (29 U.S.C, 158). In the employment contract, there will be a moral clause. This gives the employer (NFL team) to terminate the agreement if the employee engages in anything that may affect the employers' image or reputation (Galloway, 2019, 534).

Bradley R. Johnson, bought action to the school district as they violated his freedom of speech, the Establishment Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause in his classroom. Johnson had multiple banners in his classroom which expressed God as the school asked him to remove these from his classroom. The main issue that upset other teachers at the school were the size of the banners as it was seen as “overpowering” and “influencing” his views on the children that he teaches math’s too (Johnson vs Poway, 2011). In the Johnson Vs Poway the defendants have violated the Plaintiff's rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and Article I, §§ 2 and 4 of the California Constitution (Johnson Vs Poway Unfied, 2010).

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Students, non-religious private schools and parents bought action against the states secretary of Educations and various members of the boards as they mandate the students to recite and pledge the allegiance to the national anthem each morning. This can be seen as al the pupils saluting the flag, by the school doing this, it violates their First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights (Circle Sch. v. Phillips, 2003). Both public and private high schools may suffer with consequences from the law if officials at the school are seen punishing student-athletes for silently protesting during the national anthem.  

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Navigating the Intersection of Protests, School Policies, and Constitutional Rights. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/navigating-the-intersection-of-protests-school-policies-and-constitutional-rights/
“Navigating the Intersection of Protests, School Policies, and Constitutional Rights.” GradesFixer, 13 Feb. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/navigating-the-intersection-of-protests-school-policies-and-constitutional-rights/
Navigating the Intersection of Protests, School Policies, and Constitutional Rights. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/navigating-the-intersection-of-protests-school-policies-and-constitutional-rights/> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
Navigating the Intersection of Protests, School Policies, and Constitutional Rights [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 13 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/navigating-the-intersection-of-protests-school-policies-and-constitutional-rights/
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