STUART, Okla. (AP) -- A small Oklahoma school district has adopted a policy saying students, athletes and spectators are "expected" to stand during the national anthem with no "gestures of demonstration or protest."
The policy adopted by the school board says it isn't intended to force anyone to violate their religious, political or social beliefs. It asks that all stand out of respect to those who have died for the country.
The policy says students who violate the policy would be disciplined on a case-by-case basis. Potential action against spectators is not addressed.
School Superintendent Tracy Blasengame told the McAlester News-Capital the policy is intentionally vague so the district doesn't paint itself into a corner.
The ACLU released the following statement about the policy:
“Forcing students to stand for the National Anthem is irresponsible and flies in the face of every conceivable understanding of the First Amendment. If this school district were actually interested in real patriotism, they would do their duty as a government actor to uphold the values of the Constitution rather than waste taxpayers’ time and resources with an unlawful attempt to shut down the expression of their students and staff.”
The district with about 280 students is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City.
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