Several students across the nation are channeling their inner Colin Kaepernick

Posted September 28

Colin Kaepernick’s impact continues to reach the hearts and minds of America’s youth.

Over the past two weeks, 10-year-old Skyla Madria has knelt during her school’s pledge of allegiance ceremony, which school officials hold every morning in the gym, according to KPRC-TV.

Recently, one physical education teacher asked Madria to stand. The two entered into a heated argument, where Madria ended up walking away from the situation.

Community activist Quanell X came to Madria’s rescue, calling for her to fight for what she believes in and continue to kneel during the ceremony. Madria’s mother recently signed a waiver that will allow her daughter to partake in the peaceful protest, KPRC-TV reported.

Madria said Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem inspired her. Since her school doesn’t recite the national anthem in the morning, she decided to act out against the pledge instead, according to KPRC.

Quanell X agreed with Madria’s decision.

"Why would we ask any African American child or citizen to stand up and honor a flag with an anthem written by a slave owner who promised nothing but turmoil to blacks to the grave?" Quanell X said, according to KPRC.

But not all students have had such positive results. High school student Leilani Thomas saw her grades lowered because she was sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance, according to KXTV.

Thomas, though, had been sitting during the pledge since she was in second grade, according to KXTV. As a Native American, she said her father told her what the national anthem meant to her family and other people of similar descent.

But her teacher at Lower Lake High School didn’t see it that way.

“She told me I was being disrespectful and I was pretty mad,” Leilani said, according to KXTV. “She was being disrespectful to me also, saying I was making bad choices, and I don’t have the choice to sit during the pledge.”

Thankfully for Leilani, the Konocti School District Superintendent Donna Becnel supported the young girl’s decision, saying that the First Amendment gives high school students the right to sit out in protest.

There was a similar situation last week in Massachusetts, where a football player at Doherty High School decided to kneel during the national anthem.

As I wrote, the player, Michael Oppong, said he was initially suspended by his football coach for doing so. But the school later reversed the decision, sending out a statement that said Oppong didn’t violate any school rules and only exercised his First Amendment rights.

“The Doherty student did not violate any school rule when he peacefully and silently protested during the National Anthem,” the statement read. “He exercised his Constitutional Rights without disturbing the school assembly and he is not being disciplined (for) his actions. Worcester Public Schools is a rich, diverse community that thrives to maintain open dialogue about the challenges that our community and our country face.”

But one student from Orem High School in Utah, Carson Geddes, acted in a different way, deciding to stand during the national anthem instead.

A coach from Alta high school tweeted the moment.

"Standing up was a little hard, so I had to lean on my wheelchair a little bit, definitely wasn't feeling too good by the end of the song," he said to Fox-13. "It was hurting pretty bad that night, right after surgery, so I didn't feel too good. But I felt like I just should stand up, like that was the right thing to do."

While some students continue to act out in support of the 49ers quarterback, it may go against how many Americans feel.

According to CBS, a majority of Americans disagree with Kaepernick’s decision, with 72 percent saying it was unpatriotic. Meanwhile, the poll, which surveyed 1,481 white people and 612 minorities, found that 61 percent actually don’t “support the stance Colin Kaepernick is taking and his decision not to stand during the national anthem,” according to CBS.

Despite the high levels of disagreement, 64 percent of Americans who were surveyed said they felt Kaepernick has a right to protest and shouldn’t be punished.

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.


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