Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 11:27 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 8:53 PM
By: Lawrence Budd - Staff Writer
LEBANON — The Lebanon Board of Education took no disciplinary action Wednesday related to the superintendent’s decision to keep the players off the field before the varsity football game last Friday night.
The board emerged from an hour-long executive session to apologize to anyone upset by the decision and to express confidence in Todd Yohey.
“We have full confidence in Mr. Yohey as our superintendent moving forward,” Board President Chip Bonny said in a statement.
On Sept. 30, Yohey posted an apology on the district’s Facebook page for keeping players in the locker room Friday night during the national anthem. The decision prompted responses on the social network.
“I apologize to everyone who was offended by that decision. We ask for your forgiveness,” Yohey concluded in Saturday’s statement.
The issue stems from reactions around the world and at NFL games this year since Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012, took a knee in in protest of what he called police brutality involving black men and women killed by police.
Kaepernick is not playing this year, prompting other players to kneel in support.
At Wednesday’s meeting in Lebanon, residents expressed a range of views about keeping the players off the filed during the playing of the anthem.
Rochelle Collins expressed support for Yohey’s decision, noting the importance of keeping students safe.
“We’ve never been through a time like this before,” she said.
Randy Lang said the players should have been given the opportunity to decide whether to take a knee during the national anthem.
“As Americans, we have a right to make that decision,” he said.
Rene Forrester said it was unlikely a riot or any violence would have resulted and emphasized the importance of free speech.
“That’s bigger than the flag, bigger than the national anthem,” Forrester said.
Teacher Jenni Brunka expressed concern that Yohey’s job was at issue.
“What I’ve seen so far has been amazing,” Brunka said.”He has made so much progress in a short time.”
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