The Okemos Channel
Eight Okemos High School football players kneeling at their game Friday against Holt. Three players knelt during the National Anthem at their Oct. 6 Homecoming game against Jackson. Okemos Superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross and district attorneys told Okemos School District trustees at an Oct. 9 meeting that student players who choose to kneel are protected by the First Amendment. Attorneys clarified that a public institution could only discipline students under limited circumstances: when student speech interferes with school work, or infringes on another student’s rights. Despite sports being considered a privilege, attorneys said that protection extends to student athletes when they’re on the field. Four players from Lansing Catholic High School were benched until just before halftime after kneeling during the anthem at an Oct. 6 game. Because Catholic is private, students there do not have the same First Amendment protection.