Newington board members defended students rights to kneel during the national anthem at school sports events during a highly-charged board of education meeting.
"Two Wednesdays ago roughly half of the volleyball team took a knee at the very end of the national anthem," Newington High School Student Council President Lukas Houle said.
Houle stood up for the students' right to kneel after he says it was called into question by a school board member on an online forum.
"This as it reads, in my opinion, insinuates that women’s on volleyball team should be punished," Houle said.
Another student, Yasmin Rincon, is on the volleyball team.
"I took a knee to protest police brutality against African Americans. Too many people have been killed unjustly and without reason," Ricon said. "Me being a Hispanic, black, Muslim woman, I am disgusted by the way minorities are treated."
The protest has sparked strong reactions.
"It’s just disrespectful to the flag," Steve Gagliardi in Newington said.
School board members said regardless of how anybody feels about the protest, the students have the right to kneel or stand.
"You have every right to do what you did. You don’t leave your schoolhouse rights at the door. You can’t be forced to do things like stand for the national anthem," a board member said.