MINEOLA, New York — Kneeling in church? Still OK. During the national anthem? You’d better not.
A Catholic diocese in suburban New York has issued a warning to its three high schools that students and spectators cannot kneel or otherwise protest when the national anthem is played before games and other school events.
Newsday reports the Diocese of Rockville Centre sent out the directive this week. The diocese says it has a long-standing policy against protests during the anthem.
Spokesman Sean Dolan says violators would be disciplined on a case-by-case basis.
“This is a reminder that all student-athletes and spectators are expected to stand during the playing of the National Anthem at school sporting events, without any gestures of demonstration or protest,” the directive said, according to Newsday.
“This is long-standing school policy and applies equally to all participants and audiences at all school events, including those that are not sporting; for example, concerts and plays. We ask our students also to recognize that failure to abide by this policy may result in serious disciplinary action.”
Bishop John Barres had instructed that the statement be sent by the diocese’s Education Department to the three Catholic high schools in the diocese.
The reminder comes amid the national debate over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police killings of unarmed black people and other racial and social injustices.
President Donald Trump says the protesters are disrespectful and has called for them to be fired.
Crux staff contributed to this report.