Bossier schools superintendent issues statement on district's stance on national anthem

Bossier schools superintendent issues statement on district's stance on national anthem
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Bossier public schools Superintendent Scott Smith released a statement Wednesday morning about proper decorum for the national anthem.

The statement was released in the wake of several NFL teams kneeling during pregame performances of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

In sharing the statement, Bossier School District spokeswoman Sonja Bailes said: "Bossier Schools is proud to be part of a parish where the vast majority of our citizens are proud to live in a patriotic community that supports its military and shows reverence when our national anthem is played at sporting events and other times."

Following is Smith's statement:

Freedom is not free. Each day the men and women at Barksdale Air Force Base and in other branches of the military in Bossier Parish and throughout the nation don a uniform and put their lives at risk as they proudly serve and protect us with honor. The least Bossier Schools can do is expect our student athletes to stand in solidarity when the National Anthem is played at sporting events in honor of those sacrifices.

After Bailes shared Smith's statement via email, some people replied.

"I am posting on Facebook this excellent decision by the Bossier Parish School System leadership in support of appropriate behavior regarding our national anthem and our flag," District 8 Bossier Police Juror Doug Rimmer wrote. "Congratulations and commendations to you as we all seek to instill patriotism and respect in our young people.  As a twig is bent, so grows the tree!"

Sandy M. Cimino, senior vice president of business development at Community Bank of Louisiana, said: "I have also passed it on. I am so proud of Bossier Parish School System."

Following the BPSD issued its statement, Caddo Parish Public Schools released a statement:

It is the policy and procedure of Caddo Parish Public Schools and the Caddo Parish School Board to allow students and staff to practice their First Amendment rights as long as that practice does not impede on the ability of others to practice their beliefs.

Also Wednesday morning, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards made the following statement on a radio talk show:

"The national anthem and the American flag are symbols of freedom and should unite all of us, despite our differences.

"Having served our country in the military, I will always choose to stand for the national anthem and encourage others to do likewise. 

"We recognize that our fellow citizens have a First Amendment right to express these sentiments. That said, it seems to me there are more effective ways to go about it. 

"I would hope that, as a nation, individuals on both sides of this issue can come together and work to do better.

“In the meantime, the state must continue to meet its contractual obligations with the Saints. We will work with the Legislature and other officials to ensure complete transparency as to what those obligations are.”

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