Lansing high school says athletes can't play if they kneel during the National Anthem

Lansing Catholic High School says athletes can't play if they kneel during the National Anthem. The student could even face being dismissed from the team.

In a Parent Update they say, “while we recognize the important role that peaceful protests play in society, our school’s stance is that school athletic events are not an appropriate venue for protests. This holds true whether we are hosting or visiting.”

If the school is aware in advance the student athlete will not be allowed to dress or accompany the team for the game. Lansing Catholic says they will talk with the student, and their parents and "take appropriate actions moving forward."

The entire parent update can be viewed below:

Dear Parents,

Our winter sports season has finally begun and we hope you have the opportunity to come out over the next few months to cheer for our teams.

As the Winter sports season begins, we want to take this opportunity to clarify and provide an update for you as to what steps Lansing Catholic has taken to address student concerns about racial injustice and athlete behavior during the national anthem.

Over the last year or so, our nation, our local communities and our school has been grappling with painful issues that are long overdue to be addressed and corrected in our society. As you know, one of the issues we have personally witnessed is the practice of kneeling during the anthem in protest to racial injustice and police brutality.

Social justice is at the heart of our Catholic faith. Catholics and the global Catholic Church have always been at the forefront of fighting for social justice. As a Catholic high school in mid-Michigan, a region less diverse than some areas of the state and country, we recognize and embrace our role of both celebrating racial diversity and condemning racial inequality.

The school leadership team has continued to pray and discuss how we can best address this issue within Lansing Catholic’s mission of forming students spiritually, intellectually, and socially into becoming faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We asked our coaches to talk with their respective teams and reiterate the school’s expectations while at the same time engage with the student athletes about what the “higher purpose” of athletics is; what this means given their involvement on a LCHS team; and in particular how it applies to our school mission.

We also specifically addressed protests during the anthem and then explored alternative ways to make statements relative to social protest. One of our teams, boys’ varsity basketball, went so far as to develop a tee shirt which reads: “Respect, Fortitude, Unity” and on the back simply, and importantly, states “family”.

Additionally, it is important to note that the school overall is actively working on cultural awareness and treating one another with dignity and respect. A group of students, faculty and a few parents are meeting nearly every week to discuss cultural diversity. These meetings have been well attended and the feedback from students has been positive. Members of the football team and administration also have met with local law enforcement in small group settings and we are planning diversity training for the staff, students and Board of Trustees.

To reiterate what we stated this past fall: “while we recognize the important role that peaceful protests play in society, our school’s stance is that school athletic events are not an appropriate venue for protests. This holds true whether we are hosting or visiting.”