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Why We Kneel

Lansing Catholic High School students take a knee against injustice and police violence


If you haven’t been paying attention, students at Lansing Catholic High School (LCHS) and Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) have been using their voices to protest racial injustice and police brutality — largely by kneeling at sporting events and during the pledge of allegiance. The result? The schools have taken drastic steps to discipline these students for exercising their free speech. At LAHR, we believe that providing a platform for these students’ voices is critical in supporting their efforts.

One student, Isaac Torok, tried to circulate this petition at Immaculate Heart of Mary in November 2017. (It’s been revised, just a tiny bit, for publishing clarity).

The reason we kneel during the pledge of allegiance is to bring attention to a type of racism called police brutality. It is not bad to kneel or disrespectful to the people who fought in wars. We know this because a military veteran named Nate Boyer talked with the original player who kneeled, Colin Kaepernick. Nate is a teammate of Kaepernick and said that soldiers respect other soldiers that died by kneeling at their grave.

I have been sensing racism in both schools (LCHS and IHM). IHM is doing it more calmly by telling the kids they can’t kneel. But they do make sure that we recognize that police brutality and racism is happening and are doing a prayer but they don’t seem to understand that extra is good. Even though in school they say that extra credit can only HELP your grades.

And kneeling is like the extra credit. Now for LCHS: LCHS is kind of like IHM but LCHS is a high school. So one of the games I went to they said if the players kneeled then they would have consequences. They said things that implied that they could be EX-PELLED! Not very funny. No kids did get expelled, but that was still a bad thing to tell kids.

So I am getting a petition of names to send to the Diocese of Lansing.

He thought that if he wrote a petition and gathered the signatures of his fellow students, it would help his principal understand his motivations. The letter was confiscated by school staff after gathering only three signatures and Isaac was told that he was not allowed to circulate petitions on school grounds. Since then, the school has released a policy threatening disciplinary measures if children continue to kneel during the pledge of allegiance.

Isaac and other students were recently recognized by the Lansing City Council for their bravery at their schools. The LAHR Board recognizes that the injustices being demonstrated within these schools infiltrate our entire community. We join the students in solidarity.


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