The controversy over kneeling during the national anthem is nation-wide now. It started in the NFL and has managed to infect college sports.
Sacramento, California — A Woodland High School chemistry teacher decided that she was going to kneel during the national anthem at a school assembly last Friday. As a result, she was placed on administrative leave, according to The Sacramento Bee. The teacher, Windy Pappas, was carrying multiple posters as she went down for the kneel.
One poster read “Black Lives Matter.” The other read “It’s okay to disagree with any sign here!!!” She held the signs as the national anthem played throughout the auditorium.
Oddly enough, the school was simply playing the anthem to kick off the Woodland High homecoming week for Friday. There was nothing inherently inappropriate about the event that would cause her to bring a BLM sign — or kneel.
The rest of the event went off just fine without any incident. However, later in the school day, school administrators came to the teacher’s classroom and asked her to come out.
Callie Lutz, the Woodland Joint Unified District spokeswoman, was able to say for sure that the school emailed and left messages for the families of students Sunday before the school week started. Initially, Lutz was hesitant to comment on the type of leave that Pappas had been placed on.
She later clarified that Pappas was on a paid leave, and was not suspended on an unpaid leave. Many people wondered why exactly Pappas was suspended for kneeling in the first place.
The Woodland High principal, Karrie Sequeira, discussed the issue further. She stated that, “While teachers do retain certain First Amendment rights in their capacity as an instructor, such rights are limited by Education Code and case law.” So what exactly does the code say?
“Their personal, political or religious beliefs are not appropriately expressed at school or in the classroom. Instead, the appropriate and legal instructional role is one of neutral facilitator – one who facilitates student discussion and intelligent analysis of current events.”
As noted, teachers are not supposed to express their political beliefs while on the job. The goal is to be a “neutral facilitator.” Some have argued that, since the students were not technically in the classroom and learning, that this should be acceptable.
A teacher was placed on administrative leave for kneeling during the national anthem. Do you agree with the schools choice?
The issue here is that this teacher was in the presence of students. While she is allowed to leave flyers and circulate petitions within the teacher’s lounge, demonstrations for students are frowned upon.
Simply put, the kneeling situation has gotten out of hand, and many would agree. There are people kneeling at random events around the country as if they are doing some kind of good in the world. It is not acceptable to kneel in a school setting with the children present. It sends a bad message to students, as well as to the parents and other members of the community.