Colors presented at Kuna High School Veterans Day assembly

The “Colors” flags are walked back from their posts Friday, Nov. 10 at the Kuna High School Veterans Day assembly.

ALX STEVENS/KUNA MELBA NEWS

KUNA — High School students stood for the playing of the national anthem at a Veterans Day assembly, Friday, Nov. 10, putting an end to a concern that some students intended to kneel for the performance.

A rumor spread that a few students were planning on kneeling during the performance of the national anthem, a practice started more than a year ago by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a form of protest against police brutality, at the school’s Veterans Day assembly. Kuna Joint School District staff were alerted to the rumor, and spoke with the students.

“We talked with the students about the appropriateness of when to kneel,” said David Reinhart, spokesman for the district. “We respect their right to free speech. We are helping them plan better ways of getting their message out.”

To conclude the Kuna High School Veterans Day assembly, principal Brian Graves apologized to the veterans, family members, staff, teachers, students, and all attending community members.

As the Kuna High School choir sang the national anthem, every single person in the Kuna High School gym stood up.

“What I learned today,” Graves said, “is you never doubt Kuna.”

The entire room stood in applause for his remarks.

THE DISTRICT TAKES ACTION

Reinhart told KTVB News that the rumor of a kneeling protest was started by a student who has since apologized.

Teachers met with the students who might have kneeled during the national anthem at the assembly. Recognizing the First Amendment Rights of all, Reinhart said, staff and students discussed other, more appropriate times, places, and ways to protest.

“The objective of today’s assembly is to honor family, friends and veterans,” Graves said during the assembly.

Media members were asked not to film or shoot video during the national anthem in an effort to further discourage students at the assembly from protesting. Reinhart explained this was also a measure of security and to recognize the sacredness of the time. Reinhart explained this was also a measure of security and student privacy.

Law enforcement was present at the assembly.

In closing the ceremony, Graves said he appreciated the work the teachers and staff did with the students who had been planning to protest. And he was proud of the students for not protesting during the assembly.

“I apologize for allowing doubt to come into my mind,” Graves said. “There was some doubt in our students … in our staff … in the community. There is no reason to doubt these students.”

Reinhart said the district is proud of the students “who showed our veterans tremendous respect,” and the district also appreciates all the staff and community members who respected the diversity of students opinions and created an atmosphere that made us all proud to be Americans.

“We have the best students in Idaho,” Graves said. “We have the best staff in the state and the U.S. I apologize for any doubt in the students, staff and community.”

Alx Stevens is the reporter for Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 208-922-3008 or editor@kunamelba.com.

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