North Texas

National Anthem Protests May Shift to High School Gridiron

"There is an opportunity for students to understand what their rights are"

From the NFL, to the high school gridiron. The controversy over national anthem protests is shifting to student-athletes.

Team members at one Fort Worth high school approached their football coach asking to get involved and now the school district is working out how to respond.

Before they head back to the classroom, Dunbar High School football players hit the field. It's where they'll learn some of their biggest lessons this year, like how to stand up for what they believe in.

Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond said a group of Dunbar football players approached their coach wanting to get involved in the national anthem protests they've seen from some of their idols in the NFL, as well as players on other North Texas high school football teams.

"This is a learning opportunity," Bond said. "There is an opportunity for students to understand what their rights are."

It's sparked a conversation among district staff but it's not clear yet if the school board will create a formal policy, like the one protecting religious expression, or issue guidelines based on each team's discussions.

Here's what Bond said is certain: "We're going to be talking to students about respect for the beliefs of others."

That's important to Dunbar football mom Rrika McCray.

"It's really serious," McCray said. "It's a really serious subject and a touchy one at that."

She said she believes in the message behind the protests.

"Our students are coming to the adults and asking for a way to speak about how they're feeling or to demonstrate how they want to change the world," McCray said.

But she also thinks there are other ways to protest, and wants to be sure her son understands what he's fighting for.

"I want to make sure that he knows what he's doing and why he's doing it and that it's an important subject," McCray said.

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