SHEFFIELD LAKE, Ohio – A parent of an Ohio high school student was banned from all athletic events in the school district for 2015 after he confronted students who were being disrespectful during the national anthem at a recent basketball game.
“Because of an incident that occurred on Friday January 12, 2015 at the varsity basketball game you were removed from the premises,” according to a letter sent to parent Justin Schill from Brookfield High School principal Angela Terella and the school’s athletic director, according to ABC 5.
“Due to the nature of the event and because students felt threatened, I regret to inform you that you are not permitted at athletic events at Brookside for the rest of the 2014-15 season.”
Schill told ABC witnessed several students sitting and laughing at the recent game and it “absolutely infuriated him” so he felt compelled to confront them.
So Schill posted the letter on a community Facebook page, and quickly received hundreds of comments, mostly in support of his efforts to instill respect in students for their country and condemnation for school officials for not backing him up.
“Wow this is absolutely the most outrageous thing I’ve ever seen,” Robert Taw posted in response. “I really can’t believe how soft this society has gotten. Those kids should of gotten kicked out for disrespecting our nation.”
Several others told ABC the same thing.
“He had every right to do what he did and the school should respect that,” resident Bridgette Zarelli told the news site.
“I mean, if anything, there should be a warning or something like that, but to be kicked out of games? That’s ridiculous. Ridiculous, Ashley Chenoweth.”
“The national anthem is something to be proud of,” Bob Lydon told ABC. “Take your hats off, put your hand over your heart and be respectful to the flag.”
School officials did not respond to ABC’s request for comment on the ban.
They did, however, meet with Schill to discuss the incident and agreed to reduce the ban to one game, according to the news site.
“In a follow-up Facebook post, Schill added that he applauds the school for doing the right thing,” ABC reports.
Jake Russell attempted to defend the disrespectful students through comments on ABC’s site.
“To whom it may concern, I was in the same row and section of the bleachers as the ‘disrespectful’ kids. As the national anthem began, they remained seated but still respected the views of the rest of the fans,” Russell wrote.
“As the national anthem ended, we all sat down. Then Mr. Schill came over and said something to the kids. I am very enraged by the fact that you don’t have the facts,” he continued. “These kids are both my close personal friends. They don’t disrespect us but it’s just against their beliefs. Maybe you guys should get both sides of the story. If you want you can contact me.”
Other commenters believe Russell has already said enough.
“Staying seated is a total disrespect for this nation and any respectful citizen has a right to speak up,” Ray Lautenschlager responded. “The kids you want to support need to be taught what they are supposed to do, hats off, stand facing the flag, either sing along or remain silent.”
Pam Serafine agreed.
“Respect is standing,” she posted. “They do not have to put their hands over their hearts or sing. Even during the Olympics everyone stands no matter who’s national anthem is being sung.”