Houston ISD announced Thursday that it would not make its students stand for the national anthem at sporting and other events.
Officials cited a 1943 Supreme Court ruling that students may not be compelled to participate in patriotic activities, such as standing for the national anthem or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It has been a tradition at HISD athletic events for participants and fans alike to stand in honor of the American flag and the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of such contests,” HISD said in a statement. “HISD also protects the constitutional right of student athletes, as set forth explicitly in HISD Board Policy FNA (LEGAL), not to participate in that tradition.”
Houston ISD is not the only district to address the national anthem after National Football League players took a knee during performances of it last week to protest racial inequality and bias in the criminal justice system.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD said Thursday it would continue to play the national anthem at its school events after the non-affiliated Cy-Fair Sports Association, a private youth sports league, announced it would not longer play the anthem at its events.