MANATEE- An email sent out by manatee county schools addressing the national anthem and pledge of allegiance has sparked a controversy.

Taking a knee during the national anthem started last year with Colin Kaepernick protesting racial injustice.

Now Manatee County is seeing high schooler’s protesting their local government after the director sent out an email to area high schools letting them know that students are required to stand unless they have a note from a parent if they are under the age of 18.

Civil Rights attorney Andrea Mogensen says, the state statue the school is using to enforce their code of conduct is not black and white.

In other words, the statue states, the student needs to have a note if they’re a minor but doesn’t say any adverse disciplinary action will happen if they don’t have a note and chose not to participate in the national anthem.

According to Mogensen, The first amendment is mainly directed at one entity, the government to keep then honest and allowing American people to object to government.

When it comes to private entities, they have more control on graying the first amendment but it’s all on a case to case basis.

Mogensen also points out, anyone in the United States no matter their status or age has first amendment rights.

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Krystel Knowles

Krystel Knowles joined SNN in February of 2016. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a Bachelors in Mass Communications and minors in News Editorial and Telecommunication Production. Krystel is trilingual- fluent in Spanish, English and French (and picked up some Portuguese while studying abroad in Brazil).
Krystel started her career in print journalism. She was a correspondent for the St. Pete Times Newspaper, staff writer for Focus Magazine, and head reporter and photographer for South Tampa community news publication. In 2011, she made the switch from print to broadcast journalism. She has since worked as a photojournalist for Fox 35 in Orlando, and also as a photojournalist/multimedia journalist for ABC action news in Tampa.
Although she was born in Tampa, Krystel moved to New Port Beach, California within a few months. She then spent 8 years in Lima, Peru before moving to Miami, Florida. While living in Peru, Krystel danced at the National School of Ballet and sang in a choir.
Her passion for ballet led Krystel to figure skating in 2015. Her other hobbies include: skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and traveling.