Private school asks students to sign no-kneeling contract after NFL protest

Trinity Christian father frustrated school didn't talk to parents first

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Days after NFL players' “Take A Knee” protest made headlines, student-athletes at a Jacksonville private school were given a contract to sign, stating that they would stand at sporting events during the playing of the national anthem.

Parents with students attending Trinity Christian Academy said they were frustrated that they weren't notified about the contract before the students signed it.

READ: Trinity Christian Academy student-athlete contract

A father whose son is on the football team said his main concern went beyond the school addressing the protest. He said he simply wants to be notified of any contracts between the school and students before his son is asked to agree to them.

In a letter first issued to students last week and later to parents, Trinity Christian Academy said its students must stand for the national anthem out of respect for the flag.

The letter came days after the national protest initiated by NFL players, who said they were taking a knee during the national anthem to draw attention to inequalities in America.

Players on teams across the league, including about a dozen Jacksonville Jaguars, knelt during the national anthem as it was played before their games on Sept. 24. The movement sparked a  nationwide response of outrage from some and support from others.

Before any athletes at Trinity Christian chose to follow suit, coaches made clear the consequences for kneeling.

“My son was required to sign a contract pretty much stating that he would not be allowed to express some of his rights and that letter was not sent home to be reviewed by the parent,” said the football player's father, who asked not to be identified.

According to the contract, if a Trinity athlete kneels during the national anthem, the athlete may be escorted off the field or not allowed to play the remainder of the season.

The football parent said he's not necessarily against the school addressing the protest but that parents should have been included in the conversation first.

“I try to give my kids a well-rounded aspect of things, especially current events and all the things going on in this country,” he said.

The principal said several parents expressed similar concerns and that he understands their frustration. 

Trinity Christian released a statement Thursday:

Along with all of our community, Trinity Christian Academy acknowledges the important conversations regarding issues impacting our country. We decided it was best to remind our students of the school’s tradition when it comes to the playing of our National Anthem.

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