A high school in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, is ordering its students to stand for the national anthem or face punishment, according to The Washington Post.
The Post on Thursday reported that Parkway High School will remove anthem protesters from their athletic teams and ultimately suspend them for repeat offenses.
Principal Waylon Bates sent a letter to students and their parents Thursday informing them the school considers such demonstrations a “disruption.”
“Parkway High School requires student athletes to stand in a respectful manner throughout the National Anthem during any sporting event in which their team is participating,” he said.
“Failure to comply will result in a loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal,” Bates added. “Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team.”
Some Twitter users on Friday expressed alarm over the decision, while others praised the school’s move.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana on Thursday denounced Parkway High School’s stance on national anthem protests.
“Bossier Parish is threatening to punish students for peacefully protesting racial injustice and taking a principled position for freedom and equality,” executive director Marjorie Esman said in a statement.
“This is antithetical to our values as Americans and a threat to students’ constitutional rights,” she added, citing a Supreme Court decision nearly 75 years ago ruling that state schools cannot force students to stand for patriotic rituals.
Scores of National Football League (NFL) coaches, executives and players have recently knelt for the national anthem after President Trump derided the practice.
Trump last week called for the NFL to fire employees who kneel during the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and he has since called the gesture “disgraceful.”
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the song in 2016 to protest racial injustice in the U.S.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Friday tweeted that him and his NFL teammates will kneel before the anthem and then stand for the tune to “show respect for all.”