Orange County school district says students do not need permission to kneel during national anthem

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Update: An earlier report indicated the Orange County school district requires students to get their parents' permission to kneel during the National Anthem at sporting events.  Channel 9 has since learned that a written note from parents is not required pertaining to the national anthem, unlike what Florida law requires regarding the Pledge of Allegiance.


The Orange County Public Schools said students do not need their parents’ permission to kneel during the national anthem at sporting events.

The issue has been making national headlines since NFL player Colon Kaepernick took to his knee in protest of social injustice.

Some young athletes are starting to follow national players’ leads on the issue, although none did at a local high school football game Thursday night.

Several school districts said it has not happened in central Florida.

And that held true Thursday night, as Evans High School took on Jones High School at Camping World Stadium.

But a southwest Florida school district said students needed written permission to kneel.

Orange County Public Schools initially told Channel 9 it interpreted state law to treat the National Anthem as it does the Pledge of Allegiance, but later issued the following statement:

"If a student or staff member kneels or otherwise demonstrates their objection during the singing or playing of our National Anthem at a public event, there is no legal mechanism by which to discipline the individual as a result of this act. However, if their actions are disruptive, discipline may be imposed. Unlike the provisions in the state law regarding the Pledge of Allegiance, a written note from a parent is not required. The OCPS Office of Legal Services will be reviewing this matter to insure compliance with all applicable legal decisions and statutes.

“I have to stay neutral, but whatever they do, I’m going to support them. That’s really between that individual and their family,” said Jones High School football coach Elijah Williams.

A school district spokesperson said that if any of the students had kneeled, they would not have gotten in trouble.

Orange County Public Schools said its legal team is still reviewing state law.

State statute mentions students should stand for the national anthem, but only mentions students being excused by a written letter for the Pledge of Allegiance.