Lansing, MI – A private Catholic high school in Michigan has laid down the law regarding athletes' behavior during the national anthem at sporting events.
There was controversy at Lansing Catholic High School during the 2017 season after four football players took a knee during the national anthem.
In a preemptive move, the school sent a letter to parents as the winter sports’ season began, announcing their new policy.
“We have adjusted our consequences from the fall because we have had more time to proactively address the issue with the various LCHS teams and communicate expectations,” the letter read.
“In the event that a student athlete does not stand for the anthem that student will not play in the game,” the policy read.
The new policy also stated that if the school found out about the student-athlete’s plan in advance, they would not be allowed to dress in uniform or accompany the team to the game, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Finally, the school told parents that students who continued to protest could be kicked off the team.
The letter explained the school was working on improving cultural awareness, and that the boys varsity basketball team had created t-shirts that had “Respect, Fortitude, Unity” on the front, and “family” on the back.
But the anthem protests went a step to far for the school’s administration.
“While we recognize the important role that peaceful protests play in society, our school’s stance is that school athletic events are not an appropriate venue for protests. The holds true whether we are hosting or visiting,” the letter stated. It was signed by the school’s president, principal, and athletic director.
The four players who took a knee during the fall football games did not start that game.
Two of the players have since transferred to public schools, according to the Lansing State Journal.
Marcie Abdullah, the mother of one of the two students who knelt and later transferred, said she didn’t think the school had to adopt a policy.
"I don’t see why they needed to do anything," Abdullah said. "When the four boys took a knee at the football game, the world didn’t come to an end."