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Chicken-Fried News: Kaep’ rule

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Forget this country’s millionaire football players; the people we really need to be keeping our eyes on are the schoolchildren of rural Hughes County.

The fine decision-makers at Stuart Public Schools — the one-school district overseeing public education in the small town of Stuart near Holdenville — made headlines earlier this month when they voted to institute a policy stating all students, athletes and spectators are “expected” to stand for the national anthem at school events “without any gestures of demonstration or protest,” according to a report by McAlester News-Capital.

Stuart is not exactly known as a hotbed of anti-nationalist political activism, so we’ll assume this is a preemptive measure by the local school board rather than a reactionary one.

Stuart superintendent Tracy Blasengame said the policy has been put in place to teach its students to be good citizens. Also, one never knows when former Vice President Joe Biden will show up for a game, and who would want to offend him?

But hold on, folks! Rumor has it that there is some obscure law preventing the school district from imposing an all-out ban on anthem protests — an increasingly forgotten federal relic called the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Today, it is more commonly known as that pesky thing that keeps gun ownership rights from being the undisputed No. 1 rule on this country’s official list of great American things.

Blasengame suggested that the right to free speech might have kept the school board from going as far as it would have liked.

“The policy can’t be clear,” she told the News-Capital. “That is how you paint yourself into a corner with something — ‘If you are going to do this, then I am going to do this.’ Nobody will be the national anthem police.”

No specific punishment is listed for those who do not stand or protest the anthem. Discipline will be handled on a case-by-case basis, though dealing with this unnecessary policy sounds like it would be punishment enough.

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