Oklahoma school bans 'gestures of protest' in new rule forcing students to stand for the national anthem
A young girl stands for the pledge of allegiance (Shutterstock).

A school district in Oklahoma has passed a new policy requiring all of its students to stand up during the national anthem.


KATV 7 reports that Stuart Public Schools is now telling students that they are "expected" to stand for the anthem whenever it's played -- and that the school reserves the right to punish them if they don't.

"All students, student-athletes and spectators are expected to stand during the playing of the National Anthem at all school events, sporting or non-sporting, without any gestures of demonstration or protest," the policy states. "Any student violation of the policy concerning the national anthem would be handled on a case-by-case basis, taking into account context and circumstances."

Even though the policy bars students from making any "gestures of protest," the school insists that "nothing in this policy is intended to make anyone go against their religious, political or social beliefs," and is instead intended to serve as a tribute to military service members who sacrificed their lives for the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union has already signaled that it may challenge the school's policy, however.

"Stuart Public Schools’ new policy is blatantly unconstitutional and unenforceable," ACLU Legal Director Brady Henderson told KATV 7. "This school district’s school’s leaders are in desperate need of a First Amendment lesson, one that they are likely to receive swiftly in the event they actually attempt to enforce this unlawful policy."