BARBERTON, Ohio — Barberton City School District spoke out after student-athletes at the school had been choosing not to stand during the national anthem before games.
The school district took to Facebook after receiving feedback from members of the community about the student-athletes’ decision not to stand during the anthem to reiterate the laws that protect that decision.
Barberton City School District issued the following statement in regards to the incident:
We are aware of the Barberton High School student-athletes who have chosen not to stand during the pre-game playing of the United States National Anthem. The Barberton City School District supports every student’s right to free speech, as protected by the United States Constitution and supported by Ohio Revised Code (state law). Ohio Revised Code 3313.602 states that a school district cannot compel an act of patriotism on the part of a student. Laws similar to this Ohio state law have been challenged in the United States Supreme Court, dating back to 1943 (West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624). Then the Supreme Court ruled, “students may not be required to salute the American flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance at public schools."
While many people may not share this student’s point of view, as a public school district we are proud of all of our students who are learning important lessons about life that public schools are uniquely suited to teach - that people can hold different beliefs and can still coexist, get along, and even work together toward common goals.
Barberton City School District will continue to support their students' choice to stand, kneel or sit during the national anthem, but said they still remain open to hearing the comments, questions or concerns from members of the community and directed those conversations to the school’s superintendent, Mr. Ramnytz.