A private Christian college in Missouri will require its freshmen students to take a course with the goal of encouraging patriotism.
The College of the Ozarks created a class under their military science department called “Patriotic Education and Fitness,” according to a press release from the school.
According to the school, the course combines the school’s existing ROTC and physical education curriculum while encouraging students to gain an “understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it.”
The course will cover topics such as modern military customs, flag protocol, and U.S. politics. It will also teach students hands-on skills such as rifle marksmanship, rope knotting, map reading, and land navigation.
“We think there needs to be a more intentional program regarding our country and especially the military,” College of the Ozarks President Jerry Davis told TIME on Wednesday. “We don’t think the military has been properly recognized, and students in general need to know more about the place of the military in the democracy.”
Davis emphasized the school’s passion for patriotism when he spoke out against NFL players who knelt for the national anthem and announced that the College of the Ozarks would institute a “no pledge, no play” policy for its college athletes.
“The College of the Ozarks will not play in games where disrespect is exhibited toward the American flag or national anthem,” Davis said. “Opponents are pledging to meet the College’s expectations for respect of the national anthem and American flag. Otherwise, our college will not participate.”