Archive for Friday, October 6, 2017

Several LHS marching band members take the knee during national anthem at football game

Two members of the Lawrence High School marching band kneel during the national anthem before a football game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.

Two members of the Lawrence High School marching band kneel during the national anthem before a football game Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.

October 6, 2017


Several members of the Lawrence High School marching band took a cue from professional sports and took a knee while performing the national anthem at Friday night’s football game.

At least seven band members and one cheerleader knelt in the minutes leading up to kickoff at the Lawrence High football stadium, where the Chesty Lions faced off against Olathe South.

Rollin Love, an LHS senior who participated in the protest, said he knelt in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback whose original protest over racial inequality in 2016 has since inspired countless others across professional, college and youth sports.

“Rarely are they ever indicted — and even less than that are they ever convicted,” Love said, referring to accounts of police officers shooting unarmed black men.

Love, who was crowned as LHS homecoming royalty (the school adopted gender-neutral homecoming titles earlier this fall) at last week’s football game, was joined by fellow clarinet player J’Den Nichols.

Nichols, like Love, was protesting Friday against police brutality, she said.

“I just think it’s unfair how people of color are treated by the police, and how our country ignores it,” said Nichols, a senior. “On the marching band, we kind of represent the school, and we need to take a stand on this issue.”

She said the band members had planned their protest well in advance of Friday night’s game. Their band director, Mike Jones, wasn’t involved or even aware of the protest beforehand, Nichols said.

The kneeling began a few moments into “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and was so subtle — only a handful of students knelt among the formation of 140-some band members — that several LHS fans told a Journal-World reporter that they hadn’t even noticed the display.

But Betsy Hart, who attended the game with her husband, didn’t mince words when expressing her opinion.

“I hate it,” she said. “I think it’s disrespectful to the country, to the flag.”

Hart, an Ohio resident passing through the Lawrence area, said she attended the game to watch her granddaughter perform with the LHS Little Lions cheerleading clinic. She said her father had served in World War II, and she described kneeling protests as a generational difference between older and younger Americans.

“I hate that they don’t stand,” Hart said. “And I don’t know that they should be allowed to play.”

Amy Sanchez disagreed. Like Hart, she also belongs to a military family, but she doesn’t take issue with students kneeling during the national anthem.

“My husband was in the Marine Corps, and he said he fought for freedom of speech for all Americans,” said Sanchez, who said she attended Friday's game to watch her daughter perform in the LHS marching band.

Sanchez said she wasn’t sure if her daughter had participated in the protest, but wouldn’t have been surprised if she had. The Lawrence mother keeps a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution in her car, “so we talk about it a lot,” she said of discussing the First Amendment with her kids.

In the wave of recent NFL protests, several media reports have surfaced of high school athletes facing punishment after taking the knee. While Lawrence school board policy does not specifically mention the national anthem, there are policies in place that “address practice and expectations that staff uphold students’ rights to free speech,” district spokeswoman Julie Boyle told the Journal-World earlier this week, before Friday’s protest.

“The district’s goal is to create a secure learning environment that enables students to fully engage in the educational process free from political or religious partiality,” Boyle said in an email. “Students have the right to express their political/religious views in an open, honest and responsible manner, and in such a manner that reflects an attitude of tolerance and respect for others whose beliefs may differ.”

Love and Nichols, the two band members who spoke to the Journal-World on Friday, said they would continue taking a knee at games throughout football season.

“I know it won’t change the nation, but it might bring awareness to the situation,” Nichols said. “It’s not much, but it’s something.”

Because the LHS football team typically does not enter the field until after the national anthem, players' actions during the song are not visible to the public.


Terry Snell II 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence liberal hate for our country. Losers and disgrace to the LHS Alumni.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So you support police brutality? And you disrespect our constitution, which is our nation, not a song, not a piece of cloth. Be a real patriot. We liberals have to deal with the dirty, nasty Westoboro creeps, you can deal with a little kneeling.

Steve Johnson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You and all your snowflake friends will be the first ones calling the police when something happens. Lets hope you do and they don't come. Police brutality is not an issue, criminals are the issue. 99% of the reported brutality are on people that don't comply with the police. Don't commit crimes, that will end the alleged brutality. Criminals don't have rights!

Brett McCabe 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So, you are suggesting that the police might not assist a citizen because the officers might have a personal bias? That sounds like a potential problem that people might want to protest against.

P Allen Macfarlane 7 months, 3 weeks ago

My, my, my! How is your comment related at all to the protest. Stay on topic. It's difficult enough to follow conversations from overly-inflamed commenters.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I would expect them not to shoot someone who doesn't have a weapon. There are a lot of good cops out there, The protest is against the bad cops. And criminals do have rights. Read the constitution. And quite a few of the people who have been killed were not criminals, or they had committed crimes that did not involve violence. A guy selling cigarettes illegally, a boy playing with a toy gun, a couple of guys who were just getting out their ids for a traffic stop, a kid who bought some candy at a neighborhood store (not a cop, I know), a man harassed and arrested for trespassing over a hundred times going o his place of work. I worked with a Black guy several years ago who was moving into a house in Ottawa (he was an Ottawa U student), and the police harassed him. It was pretty obvious that all his stuff was going from the truck to his house, not vice versa, but he had to show them his lease.

Ray Mizumura 7 months, 3 weeks ago

In fact, criminals do have rights. That is why accused mass murdering racists like Dylan Roof go on trial in these United States, sir. 99%? Where the hell did you get that number? "Alleged brutality." You are out of touch with reality, to put it mildly.

Gary Stussie 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"Police brutality is not an issue" ... 2016 stats seems to support that.

The FBI released its official crime tally for 2016 on Monday there were 7,881 black homicide victims in 2016 ... up nearly 900 from 2015.

Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, in 2016 white killers of blacks numbered only 243. Not the police, in 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority armed and dangerous. WP says only 16 black male victims of police shootings were listed as “unarmed.”

Jake Davis 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Dorothy you are such a hypocrite. In one sentence you proclaim your fight for freedom of speech and the next you want to restrict people’s second amendment. You make me sick to think you patronize our American Flag as just a piece of cloth. Our American Flag represents the sacrifices our men and women OF ALL COLOR who have fought and lost their lives for our freedom. I would gesture you have never lost a loved one defending our “piece of cloth” and if you have, I feel sorry for you. Yes, I suppose your freedom to oppose this “piece of cloth” is your right. It is also my right to NEVER, EVER support your business OZ ART GLASS located at 626 N 2nd Street.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Excuse me. My uncle died in the Battle of the Bulge fighting Nazis, you know those guys we are forced to let march. Two uncles came back as alcoholics, because no one recognized PTSD back then, and 2 uncles who carried on. Several friends in Vietnam, one who went of the deep end when he returned, 1 who didn't return and several who carried on.

I have to put up with Nazis marching in our towns, but then you conservatives criticize the counter protesters and make up lies about them (they did have their permit to counter march). We in Lawrence have had to put up with the Westboro church for a lot longer than anyone else ever had to. We liberals have had to put up with all the lies about Obama, because the 1st Amendment gives you the right to lie. So guess what, you can put up with someone peacefully protesting racism. Or are you still mad, because you have to sit in the same restaurant with Black people?

Brett McCabe 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Here's how I would define hating your country: voting for a man who four times stiffed people for hundreds of millions of dollars, then created a "university" that was documented to purposefully fleece people who were trying to build-up their lives, then walked into a dressing room of partially closed teenage girls (and bragged about it), and then cheated on his wives, and then tried to kick American children out of the country just because their parents aren't American. That's some real hate for Americans. And I'm more interested in Americans than in America.

Proud of these kids for exercising their right to free speech. They've got more backbone than 63 million trump voters - combined.

Steve Johnson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Get over it snowflake, you lost!!!!! President Trump is making america great again

Brian Seveland 7 months, 2 weeks ago

How so, Steve? Other than throwing "snowflakes" like you're the Christmas Fairy (hmm), you seem to lack substance in your comments.

P Allen Macfarlane 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Shame on you for name calling. They are just exercising their right of free speech.

Steve Jacob 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The fact this is even news, Trump wins. It was a dead issue until Trump brought it up again to distract from his issues, and it worked.

Brett McCabe 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You couldn't be more wrong. It's exposed Trump as more than pervert-in-chief. Now, people are beginning to understand his love of fascism and his racist bent. Glad these kids did their research, understood the original issue and helped move forward what is a much bigger issue - a country half-full amoral bigots.

Calvin Anders 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Brett and Steve, I think we have to get past arguing about whether Trump is an evil racist fascist or whether he is bringing up all these issues to distract from his agenda or misdeeds because I think these are both true. He is taking right from the fascist playbook, trying to turn people against each other on issues they would not normally find devicive. It's both an expression of what a horrible bigot he is and also an act motivated by an aim to drive a wedge between people, cultivate an atmosphere of hate and fear and avoid scrutiny of his own scandals and corrupt agenda.

Bill McGovern 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"we need to take a stand on this issue.” (Kneels) Oh the irony.

Chase Blackwood 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong."

I recall another country on this planet that was once full of people putting their flag ahead of their morals.

Bob Summers 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Kneeling beats aminocentesis hands down.

P Allen Macfarlane 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes=, and a bottle in front of me is much better than a frontal lobotomy.

Bob Forer 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I see you were sufficiently shamed so as to not repeat your tired and worn out congenital liberal meme. Good for you boy. You are learning

Bob Smith 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Forer, why do you always go out of your way to be nasty? Its not very becoming.

Ray Mizumura 7 months, 3 weeks ago

A top administration official reveals the truth--Rex Tillerson was talking about Bob Summers, not Donald Trump.

Richard Heckler 7 months, 3 weeks ago

“I think it’s disrespectful to the country, to the flag.”

How is protesting racism, inequality, injustice and discrimination disrespectful to the country or the flag?

Individuals are not necessarily protesting the flag, Star Spangled Banner or the USA. They are demonstrating their right to protest which is patriotic.

Of course those who disagree with the right to protest are providing more recognition of the issues of racism, inequality, injustice and discrimination for which they deserve a thank you.

Francis Hunt 7 months, 2 weeks ago

What do you mean "Individuals are not necessarily protesting the flag,"? It is a protest to the flag, this is how it all started in 2016: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game.

Justin Hoffman 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The homecoming king, oops homecoming royalty, and band members kneeling for the anthem. Darn it, I just spit out my cereal in laughter.

Bob Forer 7 months, 3 weeks ago

What is your cereal of preference? Lucky charms? .

Brian Seveland 7 months, 2 weeks ago

(Actually, he's an OSU fan, so with his three teeth, he probably opts for soft oatmeal.)

Phillip Chappuie 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The kneeling is about injustice and inequality. Those who say it is disrespectful apparently cannot separate that from cloth and music. What is truly sad is that those people miss the point entirely and/or choose to ignore it. I have never seen or heard one of the so called patriots ever say I get your point but kneeling is wrong. They would rather skip the point. Sad.

Laura Wilson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

As an LHS alumna I'm proud of these kids just as I was of those who protested against the harassment of transgendered people. It's heartwarming to know that some of our young people are growing up knowing that peaceful protest is a way to change the world. They are not snowflakes. They are not cowards. They understand that there is inequality that needs to be fought. And kudos to our school district for not punishing them for exercising their most basic right.

Louis Kannen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"gender-neutral homecoming titles"...are you KIDDING ME???

Ray Mizumura 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Nope. If that's the way the students want it, and they organize to make it so, then so be it. Don't get over it, please. Keep freaking out.

Eric Schmidt 7 months, 3 weeks ago

And I thought LHS was the birthplace of tradition? It appears they are throwing out all traditions and forgetting to respect others opinions as they jump on the slippery slide of liberalism...

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It used to be "tradition" to have separate drinking fountains for Blacks and Whites. What's your point?

Harlan Hobbs 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, I support police brutality, Dorothy. Maybe they should start with you. For heaven's sake, cut it out.

You should spend your time reading the current issue of that liberal magazine, Time. It's cover story postulates that the Democrat party is in its worst shape since 1929.

There is a good reason for that. The party is out of touch, and their current standard bearers are burned out relics like Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, not to mention that washed up failure Hillary Clinton. Even Barack Obama can't get his name in the news these days, other than for reminding us of the ObamaCare failures.

As for these students, they are spoiled brats who had better change their attitudes or they will have a hard time succeeding in life also.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I guess they need to "stay in their place", right? Don't look into a white person's eyes? Get off the sidewalk when a white person walks by" "Yessir" "Yesmaam" or would you prefer "massah"?

Kevin Elliott 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Harlan, 2 thing.

  1. You are right, the Democratic Party is as screwed up as the Republican Party. It does not reflect anything but it's own self interest and that pisses me off.

  2. You are a traitor, calling for the police to beat people who disagree with your opinion. To be supportive of the flag over the Constitution by and large makes you the very definition of a false patriot and perhaps can reach the level of treason. I guess the Democratic Party and you have a common theme, selfish, out of touch and getting it wrong.

Brian D. Moss 7 months, 3 weeks ago

As a fan of language, I couldn't help notice that the headline says take "the" knee -- yet the article goes on to use "a" knee twice and "the" knee once, along with four instances of kneel or kneeling. Perhaps also notable that commenters above only use kneel or kneeling.

Oh, and hooray for engaged young people.

Calvin Anders 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't really get this one. I fully support the right of everyone to protest, but I think if you are in the band and you decide to take a knee, you should not participate in the playing of the anthem. It's the lack of participation in the anthem that makes the statement. It's kind of like when the Cowboys decided to take a knee before the anthem and then stand during. It really means nothing. If these band members want to protest they should protest. But a real protest would be refusal to play the anthem. Wouldn't that ruffle a few feathers if a good portion of the band refused to play? That's the kind of protest that would really get this discussion going, I'll bet.

Brad Greenwood 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Interesting how people who appose this act of freedom of expression use the word "hate" so much.

Bob Summers 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Subservience suits these emotionally hypersensitive students well. Their obsequiousness is fitting in public space on government property.

Brian Seveland 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Oh dear... Bob found his way to I guess anyone can play at literacy these days, even trolls. He failed, but still, he tried. Someone, please give the troll a treat...

Ray Mizumura 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Good for these conscientious and courageous young people. There's still a great deal of hope in this country, and most of it comes from the youth. They can take pride in their reasonable, constructive act of protest. I'd tell some of the "citizens" on this board who think otherwise to "get over it," but I hope they don't. I want them to continue throwing their tantrums, just like the buffoon who squats in the White House.

Bob Reinsch 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I stand for my reasons. Some stand for their reasons. Others do what they do for their reasons. No one is telling me to do something for their reasons, and I'm not going to tell somebody to do something for my reasons. Funny thing, freedom.

Lisa Strickland Meinhardt 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This kneeling/standing debate is getting ridiculous! Many men and women have died so "We the people" can have choices. I personally stand, but I know one of the people mention in the article. I know how they were raised. They have a ton of respect for others. They believe strongly about something. Even if I disagree with someone I choose to respect them. What does name calling and belittling people accomplish? Trump is not making our nation "great again" that is OUR responsibility! To treat others as equals with love and respect. Maybe instead of pointing out all the differencess we should look at what makes us a like.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This issue absolutely befuddles me. The national anthem is played, some kid (or other) kneels. And the whole population explodes in anger. What is it to YOU?? Is it YOUR ox that is being gored???

Just because someone has a different attitude, well, last I heard, this is a free country and we are allowed, disgusting as it may be, to have your own opinions. It is the right of being a citizen.

Get over it......find something of real substance to anguish over. Gezzzzzzz.

And just so the "Bobs" will have something to do and say, Trump is a debauched, incompetent, ignorant fool who was not elected president, not in any universe but this one where the fraudulent "Electoral College" seems to hold the Republican congress spell bound with it's usefulness.

Kevin Elliott 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Very direct and as succinct as I can....

If you choose the flag over the Constitution, you are not patriotic, you are borderline treasonous.

Gary Stussie 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"Trump is a debauched, incompetent, ignorant fool who was not elected president,..." kids, this is the type of divisive rhetoric that weakens the fabric of our great nation.

The Vice President just walked out of the 49'er game because a few 49'er players knelled during the National Anthem ..."@POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,”. You support your team (win or lose) and your school. Support your country too! It has problems but is the best country the world.

P.S. Colin Kaepernick has said he'd stand for the national anthem if if given a chance to play football in the NFL again!

Brock Masters 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Agree about the divisive rhetoric.

CBS has retracted the Kaepernick story. They very clearly wrote that Kaepernick told them he would stand and then retracted it. Shudders....CBS put out fake news....who would of thought.

Bob Forer 7 months, 2 weeks ago

It is not fake news if it is retracted.

Bob Zielinski 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I had been eagerly awaiting to see what stance many of the Chesty Lion band members and cheer teams would take on this issue. Having that knowledge heading into the work week brings me comfort.

Did anyone see the FBI came out with a report outlining how black extremists (that are becoming more mainstream as the weeks go by) are a real threat to police officers across the country? Yep, facts, logic and reason are starting to pick up and the people who kneel can keep doing so, as long as they don't have to present their own facts or evidence.

Gary Stussie 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"Four studies came out in 2016 alone rebutting the charge that police shootings are racially biased. ... That truth has not stopped the ongoing demonization of the police — including, now, by many of the country’s ignorant professional athletes."

Daniel Schmidt 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Disrespectful and appalling!! These 'kneeling' kids have no clue what it means to stand for the national anthem. They disrespect and disgrace every person who has died defending this country. I have no problem with peaceful 'protesting'....but find different a different venue!

Francis Hunt 7 months, 2 weeks ago

USD497 has no control over their students. When I was in school we would have been suspended for this type of behavior. Whatever these kids whine about becomes the pressing issue to be resolved. These students feel entitled and expect their demands to be met because many were raised by parents of the generation that didn't keep score, there were no winners or losers, everyone received a participation trophy. Their parents don't know how to deal with loss, disappointment or being told "no" so they've taught their kids to stomp their feet, wear their feelings on their sleeves and expect everyone to accommodate them. They are fortunate to live in a school district that is willing to do so.

Brian Seveland 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Not knowing how ancient you are, Francis (I could assume, but you know...), the world has changed since you were a teenager. Since then, we've had this thing called a "Civil Rights Movement" where we acknowledge that people of different races have equal rights. We've also had this gender thing... where people of different sexes have equal rights.

And... not to completely blow your mind... we have the whole LGBT thing... but I know you're still stuck in the racial, gender equality bubble. So, give yourself a few years to process that, come back, and we'll work with you on the rest... BLESS.

Francis Hunt 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm talking about a couple of brats, representing their school kneeling during the National Anthem and a school district that probably won't do anything about it. Typical conversation here for you to attack me regarding LGBT, race and gender equality when I said nothing about any of those issues. And Brian, get off your high horse, unlike you I am not a white male! You've made a lot of assumptions above and you obviously have some anger management issues you need to deal with. Go blow your horn elsewhere and remember I also have a right to voice my opinion whether you agree with it or not.

Clara Westphal 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'll bet some of these 'kneeling band members do not know the words to the anthem or the history of how and when it was written. Ignorance is bliss.

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