A controversy has erupted on social media over the Barberton basketball players sitting during the national anthem. This began the fourth game of the season when one player sat on the bench during the playing of the anthem.
A few games ago, a second player sat during the anthem, and on Saturday at Coventry, there were four players sitting.
On Saturday, the school administration issued a statement on Facebook that the Herald published and was carried by Fox8, and News 5. The Barberton Administration stated they are not for the sitting, but can not do anything about it legally. The Supreme Court has ruled a student can not be forced to stand for the anthem or forced to say the pledge of allegiance.
A source close to the team stated that the player that began the sitting had a brother killed by police. The players have not stated why they are sitting. The next game is Tuesday at home vs Northwest. The Magics are 9-3 under first year coach McBride.
A statement from the Barberton City School District:
“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.”
As always we remain open to anyone’s comments, questions, or concerns and will listen to everyone – please contact Superintendent Mr. Ramnytz if you’d like to chat.