In the wake of many high-profile police shootings involving black victims and white officers, many high school and college students are holding non-violent protests including sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem at sporting events. Inspired by 49ers player Colin Kaepernick who started kneeling in protest in August to protest police shootings, many high school and college athletes, have joined to show their support.
Although some schools, including a high school in Kentucky, have supported their students and athletes, Georgia is not. In Georgia, over the past few weeks, schools have frequently taken action against students demonstrating as a part of Black Lives Matter or in general against police shootings.
Last week, it came out that Cobb County Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said at a meeting in September if football players took a knee during the National Anthem, “their asses would be benched.” According to AJC, several people confirmed Ragsdale’s comment but won’t go on the record, out of fear of retaliation.
This is only the most recent targeting of students demonstrating against violence or representing the Black Lives Matter campaign. In Gwinnett, more than 850 students held a “sick out” to protest their administration’s late response to a white student’s use of racial slurs on social media. Gwinnett students also had a sit-in protest during the Pledge of Allegiance.
A Fulton County teacher may have been suspended for participating in a BLM sit in in September, but the county will not confirm it. Also, in Fulton County, a student says an administrator confiscated her Black Lives Matter t-shirts, referring to the organization as a “terrorist group.” However, a Fulton County spokesperson has said that was a rumor.
It’s clear that Georgia schools are taking a side, and it’s not on the side of social justice and progress. Fortunately, our students continue fighting for what they know is right.