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Students Weigh In on Pledge Controversy

Beth Wolde, Staff

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In 2016 Collin Kaepernick took a kneel during the national anthem to shed light on the racism occurring in the United States, specifically in support of the newly emerging Black Lives Matter movement. After this act, other NFL players began to participate in this protest causing lots of controversy in the NFL. Subsequently, the NFL decided to require all protests to be done in the locker rooms or face being possibly kicked out of the NFL, and Kaepernick was treated as unhireable.

In the past couple months there has been an increase in controversy, especially when Nike let out their “Just Do It” ad on September 5, 2018 with Kaepernick narrating it. The ad was in support of his decision, and he narrated, saying “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

“I think that takes away from the purpose of protesting because then they wouldn’t be able to get people’s attention,” stated sophomore Nusrat Tusi.

Many students share this opinion on the NFLs decision and how it suppresses the protest itself.

“The NFL shouldn’t penalize players for addressing something that affect many of their players and viewer alike, especially when they’re not disrupting the singer or obstructing anybody’s view,” said senior Aurora Rivera.

BCPS doesn’t have any rules stating that student must stand for the pledge. Though some teachers may encourage it, there are no consequences for not standing.

“I stand for the pledge when I feel like it. Not every day. I don’t think that students should have to stand for the pledge if they don’t want to,” sophomore Rosemary McNeal said.

An anonymous survey taken by 44 students revealed how most students at CHS do not agree with the NFL’s decision. This can relate back to that some of these students who don’t agree can also be the ones who stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the survey, students were asked about their feelings on the question: “Do you stand during the Pledge of Allegiance?”

41% said no, along with another 32% saying yes, and 27% saying sometimes.

Another question asked, “Do you say the Pledge of Allegiance?”

Responses showed that 55% of people do not and only 11% said they do, along with 34% of people saying they sometimes say it. This reveals that students may stand for the pledge, but they still don’t say it, mostly because most don’t care too.

When asking “Do you agree with the NFL decision of the players only being allowed to kneel in their locker rooms?”

Almost 75% of the students said they don’t agree with the NFL decisions while only 25% do.

One section allowed for students to more deeply express their views on the NFL players and the NFL’s decision.

“I think everyone should be able to openly express their willingness to kneel for the pledge or not because it’s truly not hurting anyone, and this country was built on differing opinion in the first place. Depriving players of that is also depriving them of their first amendment right,” said one survey respondent.

“It is horrible not to stand for the flag, millions of service men died for the flag and for our freedom,” said a contrasting opinion.

Others agreed.

“If someone is a professional, they should respect their country even if they don’t truly want to,” a similar source said.

Beth Wolde, Staff

Hi I’m Beth, a sophomore at Catonsville High School. I like art, and this is my first year taking journalism.

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Students Weigh In on Pledge Controversy