The Editorial column is from a long time, well respected Herald employee. This column appeared in the Jan. 16 edition of the opinion feature.
He is the backbone of the Herald after 25 years of service.
Last week a Barberton High School basketball player decided to sit for the national anthem.
He has been doing this since the beginning of the season. Last week a few of his teammates joined him. In interviews on TV, some of those students said they sat to support their teammate who has been receiving verbal backlash from adults in the stands.
Social media has blown up.
Half of the Facebook posts support the student exercising his rights. Many other posts have blasted the student as a bad kid, have told him to “get out” if he doesn’t like the country. Have asked “where are his parents,” and hurled various insults.
I don’t know the student and I don’t know the reason he is sitting. But that’s a moot point. It is his choice.
You don’t have to like what he did, that’s your choice. Seems like the teenagers know the Constitution better than adults. One social media comment states, “Shame on you Barberton Schools.” Shame on them for following the law? No, shame on you.
The schools cannot force anyone to stand according to the Supreme Court ruling in 1943 that states the “Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protects students from being forced to salute the American Flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school.” The Barberton Schools made a social media post very clearly stating their position, although many posters would like them to go against the Constitution, break the law and face legal consequences.
Would you rather live in North Korea where patriotism is forced? That is the exact opposite of what our flag represents.
Many posters say the students are disrespecting the military. I don’t think so. One of my best friends was wounded in Vietnam fighting for our country. He stated, “This is America. I cherish my freedom. I fought in Vietnam to protect that freedom and I have the utmost respect for anyone who exercises their right to protest.” Other vets have basically said the same on social media.
Many people love our freedoms until it is something they don’t like. There are far more important things to deal with than whether a teenager stands for a song.
It is very cut and dried. It’s not about whether you like it or not. The law says the student has a right. So, move on and leave the kids alone.
I will stand for the national anthem, but if you do not want to stand, for whatever reason, I respect your choice.
For the news you need, pick up the Herald at any one of the 60 newsstands across the area or call 330-753-1068 to subscribe.