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Shane Speaks: Rights Of The Students

As the dawn of high school football championships arrives and NFL controversies dominate the media as of late, and not to mention the recent stories of Georgia coaches not being allowed to pray with their athletes, one story sticks out among north Georgia in a particular way. In 2017's playoffs, Parkview High School in Gwinnett County played their normal scheduled game against McEachern. Initially, it sounded like a normal turn of events per any football game, it was a 7A playoff game that unfortunately ended in defeat for Parkview, 43-28.

The focus, however, has turned towards two students that knelt during the national anthem. As we all know the subject of taking a knee during the national anthem has caused a rift among the NFL and their community of fans. As expected, there was immediate speculation as to why these students took their knee: prayer, protest, even coincidence. Some outlets have reported that they were the first high school students to take a knee during the anthem and that they were, in fact, praying. Others, reported the national anthem was delayed and Parkview’s ritual involves taking a knee on the field, thus being a coincidence.

Regardless, one may wonder, including myself, if the students were going to be singled out or benched during the game as there have been outcries among NFL fans. The Gwinnett County District quickly put these notions to rest in their statement:

“I do not know if the students were kneeling in prayer as you have asked or if they were kneeling for some other reason. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States does allow for them to do either. With this in mind, students are not singled out or disciplined for praying or for kneeling for other reasons.”

With many stories out there circulating from the high school football level to the professional football level with a multitude of viewpoints, it is refreshing to see that no matter what the reason may be for this school, the county recognizes their right and they won’t interfere with it.

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