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KHS Class President Asks Classmates to Sit During Anthem at Tonight's Graduation


June 24, 2020

Katy Magazine Editors

Hundreds of people were divided on a Katy Tigers Facebook fan page after the Katy High School Class President announced plans to stay seated during the national anthem at tonight’s graduation ceremony.

Word spread quickly after the popular African American student posted the following on Snapchat:

"Tomorrow at our graduation during the playing of the National Anthem, I plan on staying seated in order to protest the social injustices against people of color in America.  As your Senior Class President I ask you to join me in staying seated against these injustices.

This has NOTHING to do with the flag or disrespect to the people who served in the military, but has everything to do with the continuous social injustices that people such as myself and other African-Americans deal with everyday!!!”

The Facebook page received over 300 comments with varying opinions and heated discussions. Some claiming that kneeling or sitting during the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem is disrespectful to the flag, while others supported the students’ right to stay seated.

“There is a time and place for that and graduation isn’t it. I respect their right to protest, at the right time,” said one of the posts.

Other Students Have Remained Seated or Taken Knees

Over the past week, students have opted to “take a knee” or remain seated during the national anthem at Katy ISD graduation ceremonies.  The commencement programs for these schools continued without any further disruption.

"Katy ISD students, and their guests, can express themselves as long as it is not disruptive to the graduation ceremony,” said Maria DiPetta, Manager, Media Relations and Multimedia, Katy ISD Communications. "At previous graduation events this year, some students have opted to exercise a symbolic gesture. Those gestures were conducted in a manner that was respectful to those in attendance."

Making an Argument for Respect

One post on the Facebook group stated, “Keep it classy KHS. You are also there to be role models to those who will come after you.  Don’t go with the trendy thing to do, go with the right thing to do.”

Support for Seniors

Supporters of protesting during the anthem say their actions are aimed at racial social injustices in the country, not at veterans or current military personnel.

Rodney Anderson, former Katy Tiger and KHS graduate and now running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, posted a message to the mother of the senior student.

“I fully support your son 100%,” said Anderson. “Breaks my heart to see some of the Katy community react so negatively.”

Football Players Make Point by Not Taking a Stand

In 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gained worldwide attention when he refused to stand during the national anthem. He said he was expressing his views on the country’s treatment of racial minorities.

In a recent video statement, Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League apologized on behalf of the league for not responding to the players better by listening to their concerns about racial inequality. Goodell has since praised Kaepernick and others for bringing attention to the issues of racism and injustice.

Closer to home, the Houston Texans have been vocal about protesting racial inequality. Coach Bill O’Brien said he would kneel with his players during the national anthem. JJ Watt, Texans defensive end, quickly responded on Twitter that he supported NFL players who took a knee.

“If you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening,” Watt tweeted.

Seeking Response from Family

Katy Magazine reached out to the student's mom for a response about the attention her son's request has received. She declined to comment, but posted on the Katy Tigers Facebook fan page, "I’ve been in talks with my family and we’ve decided to not make a comment!! See y’all at graduation!!"


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