A warning has been issued after students of Woodrow Wilson High refused to stand up during the national anthem.

NFL football player Colin Kaepernick created a lot of controversy after he refused to stand for the national anthem in August. He cited the discrimination against minority groups Americans as the reason that he refused to show respect to the nation. He said that he does not want to show pride in a flag that represents a nation that condones atrocities against minorities. Following this incident, a number of other players did something similar. If a silent show of protest by the NFL players wasn’t enough, the coaches and players of Woodrow Wilson High, a public school in the diocese of Camden, knelt during the national anthem, causing alarm to the diocese authorities

Superintendent of the Diocese, Mary P. Boyle, sought to arrest this show of protest by sending a letter to all school administrators and coaches, warning them against repeating this again. The Camden Diocese has declared that if any player does the same again, then she or he would be placed under a two-game suspension. If the offenses are repeated, then the players and coaches would qualify for dismissal too.

The letter by the superintendent says that the diocese expects that the coaches, administrators as well as athletes will show respect during national anthems, pledges and prayers. It also reminds the administrators and coaches of the blood and sacrifice that the founding fathers of the nations had shed so that Americans today could enjoy the freedom that they have. The superintendent has urged the administrators to remind the youth about these sacrifices so as to prevent such acts of disrespect in the future. The superintendent asserts that the schools are not public institutions, which means that “free speech, in all its demonstrations, including protests, is not a guaranteed right.”

The Head Coach of Woodrow Wilson High revealed that the plan to kneel during the anthem that Saturday to his team, but had not asked them to do the same. He said that though he loves America and has nothing in particular against the nation, it was the recent brutalities faced by minorities that prompted him to do so. He also recalled his days in college, when as an African-American athlete, he faced a number of unhappy situations. He felt that the game on Saturday was just perfect for him to communicate those feelings.

However, the Camden City School District released its own statement saying that they were proud of their students’ sensitivity to broader social issues.

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