The Fort Worth Independent School District signaled this week that national anthem protest guidelines for student athletes who want to “take a knee” may be on the way this high school football season.
On Tuesday, Todd Vesely, the school district’s new athletic director, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he discussed national anthem protests with Fort Worth ISD coaches. He said they were formulating a “game plan.”
Vesely shared no specific details. He said Fort Worth ISD’s potential guidelines would be “proactive and positive” to do “everything we can for our young people to express themselves in a non-disruptive way.”
He also stated: “For those who do protest, they need to be respected and those who do not need to be respected. We don’t want to create a disruption, or do anything that is not peaceful. That’s our position. We want to use common sense.”
Last week, Todd Lawson, a Fort Worth ISD football coach at Dunbar High School said some of his players approached him about kneeling during the anthem. Lawson stated: “I told them, ‘whatever you decide to do, come to me as a group and I’ll involve your parents and the administrators and we’ll hack it out for the best situation to go.’”
School district spokesman Clint Bond downplayed the potential sideline kneeling coming to their high school football field. He told WFAA district discussions “could” result in guidelines for players to kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem. He said Fort Worth ISD wants its students to understand the “ramifications” and “potential backlash” they might face from anthem protests.
Bond also stated there were big differences between NFL players and high school athletes. “They are employees of a company, of an organization,” he said. “These are not employees. These are students who have a right to say some things.”
The NFL anthem protest movement started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest racial injustice and police brutality seemingly stirred their high school players’ social consciousness. Interestingly, Fort Worth ISD officials made no mention of the example set by a different NFL quarterback who plays football virtually in their own backyard — Dak Prescott with the Dallas Cowboys. Breitbart Sports reported Prescott recently voiced his support for standing during the national anthem. He enraged leftists over his refusal to kneel and his steadfast resolve that the playing of the national anthem was not the right time for launching protests against the United States.
Anthem protest guidelines are not Fort Worth ISD’s first stab at trying to institute “woke” policies. In 2016, Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner rolled out transgender bathroom and locker room guidelines akin to those introduced by former President Barack Obama. The policies clashed philosophically with top state lawmakers as well as raised concerns they circumvented parents’ rights to access information about their children. Ultimately, the school district backed down and revised the guidelines.
Then, last year, Fort Worth ISD’s school board flexed its activism muscle via symbolic resolutions that embraced politicized “sanctuary” campus policies, pledging safe harbor to migrant students even though federal law (Plyler v. Doe) already protected these youngsters in U.S. public schools. Similarly, Fort Worth ISD trustees supported the Obama-era executive amnesty program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
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