NEW ORLEANS — The American Civil Liberties Union of
Louisiana put Louisiana schools on notice today, warning them that forcing
students to stand during the national anthem or punishing students who “take a
knee” in protest of racial injustice and police brutality would violate
students’ First Amendment rights.
Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana,
issued the following statement:
“Bossier Parish is threatening to punish students for
peacefully protesting racial injustice and taking a principled for freedom and
equality. This is antithetical to our values as Americans and a threat to
students’ constitutional rights.
“Nearly 75 years ago, the Supreme Court rightly held that
state schools have no business forcing students to stand for patriotic rituals.
The court also reminded public school administrators that part of their job is
to train students for participation in our free society. This principle holds
no less true today, and no less true on the playing field than it does in the
classroom. Schools have no valid interest in turning their students into
mouthpieces of government speech, full stop. Indeed, schools should respect
students who embrace their constitutional rights and stand up to injustice —
not punish them. And it would be patently unconstitutional for the school to do
CONTACT: Marjorie R. Esman, 504-522-0628 ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org