Richmond County board members discuss punishment for students wh - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Richmond County board members discuss punishment for students who protest anthem

Source: WFXG Source: WFXG

A school board discussion about money for band uniforms quickly shifted gears after a suggestion that students be suspended for protesting the national anthem while in uniform.

Nationally, this has been a hot topic after NFL players refused to stand for the anthem, citing racial injustice.

Now, officials have to decide whether kids involved in extracurricular activities have the right to follow suit.

Since most students in the district still stand for the patriotic tune, one board member said this discussion is about to open Pandora's Box.

Board member Charlie Hannah said, "It was a non-issue that has now become an issue. "Now, that idea is out there."

Hannah said even though he may not agree with the method, he will fully support the student's constitutional right to protest.

In fact, he hopes it sparks a larger discussion.

"If they decide to engage the issue, especially from a political perspective, I actually would really support that," said Hannah.

That's a far cry from how his colleague Jack Padgett sees it.

Padgett said, "I think it's a thing of them copying other people, more than anything else."

Padgett said he won't argue with the law, but thinks it's a different ball game when students are wearing gear paid for by the district.

"At some point in time, when you're a part of an organization, how far do your individual rights go, and how far does your team's rights go?" said Padgett.

Padgett said the attorney for the district made it clear that students or otherwise, you can't deny a person's right to protest.

Since extra-curricular activities are voluntary, that's where things get complicated.

So, he plans wait for an official recommendation before drawing his line in the sand.

"I'll go by whatever the superintendent and the attorney says," said Padgett.

School board members tell Fox 54 that Dr. Angela Pringle, the district's superintendent,  has asked for time to review the policies of our neighboring districts before she can give an informed opinion.

That decision is expected by next month.

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