School board president defends students kneeling during anthem

DeSoto ISD school board president Carl Sherman, Jr. joins Inside Texas Politics to discuss the district's students kneeling for the national anthem.

DALLAS - After the high-profile police shootings of black men across the country, DeSoto Independent School District said it will teach its high school students how to interact with police officers, according to Board President Carl Sherman, Jr.

“Initially we talked about doing it in government classes, now we’re talking about doing it an assembly style and have continuing education on this as needed,” said Sherman on WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics Sunday morning.

DeSoto said it will start classes in January after the girls volleyball team and cheerleaders have both refused to stand during the national anthem at games.

The DeSoto students are joining athletes nationwide in a silent protest over police shootings of unarmed black men.

“Yes there are possibly greater ways to get that message across, however, we are sitting here in 2016 and the messages that were brought forth in the ‘60s were somehow lost in translation,” explained Sherman. “Yeah, we can criticize the method but we have to listen to the message.”

President Obama has even discussed the issue and asked athletes to consider the pain that the protest causes families of U.S. service members killed overseas.

Sherman’s interview with Inside Texas Politics aired the morning of the Dallas Cowboys game against the San Francisco 49ers -- the employer of Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling for the national anthem this NFL preseason in response to the “oppression of blacks and people of color” in the United States.

Sherman said he knows some might find the silent student protest disrespectful, but the high schoolers are exercising their First Amendment rights.

“If you were to ask me how do I feel about it personally, I wouldn’t be able to answer because there’s a lot of emotion that goes into it on both sides and you have to respect that,” said Sherman. “And for those who feel it’s disgraceful, you have to dig deep and find the true meaning and find what the protest is really about. And then maybe we can find some common ground to move forward.”

Sherman praised the DeSoto Police Department as one of the first in the state to deploy body cameras and said the district maintains a good relationship with officers.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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