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There's talk on Twitter that schools are telling their football teams that they are not allowed to display any silent protest by kneeling during the National Anthem.

Please remind your school that the Supreme Court decided this in 1943 in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624. It was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States holding that the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protected students from being forced to salute the American flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance or be forced to "compulsory unification of opinion." The court wrote, "Forcing compliance was doomed to failure and was antithetical to the values set forth in the First Amendment."

Schools: Do not violate your students First Amendment rights to express an individual opinion.

The court eloquently stated: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

Sandra Stafford

Coquille

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