Go low: Local anarchists encourage Monticello High players to “take a knee”

| October 6, 2017 | 16 Comments

Emulating controversial National Football League protests, local anarchists are encouraging Monticello High School (MHS) students, their parents, and assorted fellow travelers to “take a knee” during the National Anthem at tonight’s home football game.

In an email distributed yesterday, principal, Ricky Vrhovac, alerts MHS parents of the likely coming storm:

As you might imagine, it doesn’t take long for the actions of influential people, like actors and sports celebrities, to reach the high school environment and impact our students. Such is the case with the “take a knee” movement currently in the national spotlight.

Principal Vrhovac continues by “clarifying ” Monticello students’ “right to free expression”:

It has come to my attention that mixed messages are circulating throughout our community regarding our school’s response to athletes who choose to participate in “take a knee” as a form of peaceful protest. I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify the school division’s position on a student’s right to free expression:

Albemarle County Public Schools adheres to the legal test that balances a student’s right to free expression with the school system’s need to maintain a learning environment. We stress to students and staff that they should be tolerant of the opinions and statements of others, including verbal statements, attire, gestures, etc. To be clear, Albemarle County Public Schools does not prohibit freedom of expression by students, including a student’s intention to kneel during the national anthem.

In response to Mr. Vrhovac’s communique, Solidarity Cville—the group behind the August 21 violent takeover of a Charlottesville City Council meeting —accuses the principal of “insensitivity” in his handling of the contrived protests:

The community deserves an explanation for these actions. We also deserve to have MHS Principal Vrhovac acknowledge the truth of what the “Take a Knee” movement represents: renouncing racial profiling and police brutality. His description is offensive and insensitive to people of color and denies their lived experiences. It undermines trust in our school officials to provide safety and respect to students of color.

Their letter also admonishes MHS football coach, Jeff Lloyd, for his alleged efforts to preempt disrespectful game behavior by his players:

This week student-athletes at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia (who wish to remain anonymous due to fear of repercussions) reported recently being threatened by Coach Lloyd that they would be benched if they chose to take a knee during the National Anthem before their games. Responding to community attention and people contacting school administration, the coach has since retracted his threat and replaced it with the requirement that students must notify him prior to taking a knee if they intend to do so. This mandate could still be viewed as a deterrent given the power dynamic of the coach-player relationship.

Solidarity Cville concludes by expressing concern for the potential of distracting player “focus on the game”:

We recognize that the students may or may not choose to kneel for a variety of reasons. Regardless, we will kneel to show them that we hear them and that they have an entire community supporting their freedom to choose. This will be a silent, peaceful protest. Please bring your intention to maintain safety and peace in the environment. It is vital request from the players that there not be any distraction to their focus on the game.

The letter’s implicit threats infer that Monticello High School’s coaching staff and administration will pay the price for weakness shown previously by Charlottesville City Council, the Charlottesville Police Department, the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney, and other formerly respected institutions; capitulation will only make things worse.

In the absence of lawfulness, chaos will reign.

And it is.


Read Solidarity Cville’s full press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, October 6, 2017

Charlottesville, VA

Who: Parents and community members

What: Take a knee during the national anthem at Monticello High School varsity football game

Where: Monticello High School in Charlottesville, VA

When: Friday, October 6 at 7:30pm

Why: To show solidarity with Monticello High School students in protest of racist police brutality

Supporters #TakeAKnee at Monticello High School

to Protest Racist Police Brutality

Sitting, kneeling, or otherwise choosing not to stand during the National Anthem is one way citizens across the nation have been protesting and bringing attention to the problem of racial profiling and police brutality.

This week student-athletes at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia (who wish to remain anonymous due to fear of repercussions) reported recently being threatened by Coach Lloyd that they would be benched if they chose to take a knee during the National Anthem before their games. Responding to community attention and people contacting school administration, the coach has since retracted his threat and replaced it with the requirement that students must notify him prior to taking a knee if they intend to do so. This mandate could still be viewed as a deterrent given the power dynamic of the coach-player relationship. As a response, MHS Principal Ricky Vrhovac released a lukewarm statement on Wednesday, October 4 that in no way addresses or explains the coach’s actions. In addition, he implies students want to take a knee because celebrities are doing it, rather than acknowledging the police brutality which they are protesting. His response is disappointing to see from someone charged with creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for a diverse student body. Please see his official statement below.

A Message from Albemarle County School District:

Dear Parents,

As you might imagine, it doesn’t take long for the actions of influential people, like actors and sports celebrities, to reach the high school environment and impact our students. Such is the case with the “take a knee” movement currently in the national spotlight.

It has come to my attention that mixed messages are circulating throughout our community regarding our school’s response to athletes who choose to participate in “take a knee” as a form of peaceful protest. I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify the school division’s position on a student’s right to free expression:

Albemarle County Public Schools adheres to the legal test that balances a student’s right to free expression with the school system’s need to maintain a learning environment. We stress to students and staff that they should be tolerant of the opinions and statements of others, including verbal statements, attire, gestures, etc. To be clear, Albemarle County Public Schools does not prohibit freedom of expression by students, including a student’s intention to kneel during the national anthem.

I can assure you that if a disruptive or discriminatory situation occurs, we have and will continue to take appropriate actions to maintain a safe environment for all students.

Thank you for your time, and please do not hesitate to contact our school office at 434–244–3100 or your student’s athletic coach if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Ricky Vrhovac, Principal

Monticello High School

The original threat replaced with a notification requirement by Coach Lloyd cannot go unaddressed. The community deserves an explanation for these actions. We also deserve to have MHS Principal Vrhovac acknowledge the truth of what the “Take a Knee” movement represents: renouncing racial profiling and police brutality. His description is offensive and insensitive to people of color and denies their lived experiences. It undermines trust in our school officials to provide safety and respect to students of color.

Between the threat delivered by the coach and the receipt of this email to parents, there is no doubt that the students are being impacted by the messages around them. A message of solidarity from the community is important to balance the conversation and add perspective that some students may not have access to through the school environment or at home.

Parents and community members are organizing a show of solidarity and support for the players’ freedom to make their own choice on this matter without threats, judgment, or intimidation. Please come out on Friday, October 6 to the 7:30pm Monticello Varsity football game to kneel in solidarity to deliver this message of support to students. We also ask that you contact school officials to request explanations for these messages sent by Mr. Vrhovac and Coach Lloyd and to request a public follow-up message that is apologetic, accurate and sensitive to the views of all stakeholders.

We recognize that the students may or may not choose to kneel for a variety of reasons. Regardless, we will kneel to show them that we hear them and that they have an entire community supporting their freedom to choose. This will be a silent, peaceful protest. Please bring your intention to maintain safety and peace in the environment. It is vital request from the players that there not be any distraction to their focus on the game.

We will gather at 7:00 p.m. at the Southside Shopping Center at 32 Mill Creek drive to prepare. If you are unable to meet ahead of time but will attend the game, please plan to meet us in front of the bleachers where the fence encircles the field on the home team side.

“We #TakeAKnee to confront racism in Charlottesville and in Albermarle County, be it the racist violence of police brutality or the racism of silencing dissent.”

 

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA’s The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.

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16 Comments on "Go low: Local anarchists encourage Monticello High players to “take a knee”"

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  1. Connie Stevens says:

    Oh for Pete’sake; time to end this unpatriotic insanity! It’s finally up to the parents now. Every one of them needs to tell their son, in no uncertain terms, if he takes a knee he’s out of that game and off the team! Period. He is to stand tall, silent, with his right hand over his heart, and left hand either holding his helmet or down by his side. None of this disrespectful linkibg arms crapola either. Same with cheerleaders, etc – everybody should show respect!

    Game attendees should loudly boo and jeer the knee takers and arm linkers – that’s THEIR right. Then they can walk out and demand their money back. After all, they are paying to watch a football game, not self-entitled brats grandstand.

    I’m sorry to see the H.S. principal and coach cave under pressure to these anti-American Solidarity idiots.

    I hope the parents do right by their kids, and insist on proper decorum.

  2. Janice Cartwright says:

    I think it is a shame that people cannot go to a football game, or any other venue for that matter, without being subjected to political &/or ideological “statements” by players &/or performers. Please, just go out there & play your game to the best of your ability, & leave it at that! I think most people are sick & tired of seeing & hearing all this. Just give people what they came there for: to watch an exciting game & relax from all the stresses of their week.

  3. Ken says:

    Solidarity Cville’s pouty response to Vrhovac’s statement is adolescent. It is not the principal’s job to take sides politically.

    If the takeover was violent, who was hurt?

    There is a difference between being disruptive and being for anarchy. A “silent, peaceful protest” is obviously not disruptive. Neither is it a form of “lawlessness,” since there is no law against not standing for the National Anthem.

    Kneeling has not created chaos, and will not in Charlottesville, especially when the group encouraging it is calling for “silent, peaceful protest” and “maintain[ing] safety and peace in the environment” without “distraction.”

    Free expression is an American value. Forbidding free expression is un-American.

    If the players were kneeling in opposition to Confederate statues being removed, you people might, at most, in passing criticize their manner of protest. You would not express outrage. You are inconsistent.

    The players are actually respecting American values and ideals by refusing to stand when they are egregiously flaunted.

  4. Randy says:

    Out of respect for our Country and Flag, all should stand during the National Anthem, even non-US Citizens would stand. Kneeling to protest any view, including a silly example such as “opposition to confederate statues being removed”, is an intentional divisive act, and has no place in the National Anthem. There are plenty of other opportunities one has to express their views. That is why this act makes anyone other than those with extreme political views, sick to their stomach.

    Yes, there is no law against kneeling for the National Anthem. But at the same time, participation in sporting events is privilege, not a right. Players and coaches are representing not only themselves, but their School and the Community when they are out on the field, and have a code of conduct they must adhere to before, during and after the game. If I were the coach, I would require players to stand during the Anthem out of respect for our Flag, Country, School and Community. It is incomprehensible to me that the Administration could take any other view.

  5. Ken says:

    There are few or no opportunities for football players to express their views to such a wide audience as they have not only in the stands at a game but in the media afterwards. Playing football is neither a right nor a privilege, but an opportunity earned through hard work. Players do indeed represent their schools and communities, but 1) no one confuses their views with the view of the community when the two differ and 2) by kneeling these players are in fact expressing the views of many members of the community, who are upset and disgusted by white cops killing black people for no good reason and not paying the proper penalty. Again, equality before the law is an American value. These players honor America when they regard that value highly enough to protest its absence. You don’t have to approve of their chosen form of protest, but only people with “extreme political views” get sick to their stomach at extreme measures in extreme circumstances.

  6. Ken says:

    “in the media” should be “through the media coverage.”

  7. Al says:

    Simple solution to this folks, stay away from the game and if you are a player’s parent, keep him away IF you really object. Otherwise YOU are caving. There is no conservative voice in Albemarle and Charlottesville to come close to the amount of energy expended by the left’s SJW activists. If you want results, you will have to match their intensity on an individual basis. If they wish to have a moment of solidarity off site I’m all for it. The absurd statement that it’s not about the flag or national unity is pathetic. The anthem and the flag are being disrespected simply because it creates controversy which in itself is disrespectful. That’s my opinion of their motive. Anyone trying to lecture me otherwise can go to hell.

  8. Ken says:

    The players are protesting, not just expressing solidarity, and protests need an audience. If controversy by itself is disrespectful, what effort for change is not disrespectful? You guys will defend Southern succession and dream of Texas doing the same because your “rights” are being trampled on, but be outraged by protests against African Americans being killed.

    You guys rightly love the flag for what it stands for, but you don’t really love what it stands for. It’s telling that you won’t address the fact that the players are refusing to respect the symbol because the freedom and equality it symbolizes is not a reality. If you really loved your country, you might not approve of the players’ actions, but you would understand them. For the sake or argument, let’s say you’re right and the players are wrong. What’s worse, their disrespect, or the death of innocent people? You guys see yourselves as patriots and the last redoubt of Christianity. But God gets angry at murder. You don’t.

  9. Jim says:

    I agree with Al!! There are opportunities to express your dissent. A sporting event and during the national anthem is not the place or the time. The spectators paid to see the sporting event and the athletes have trained hard to play. That should be our focus.

  10. Forbes Kennedy says:

    More rank hypocrisy from public schools. They seem to believe wearing an NRA t-shirt or a political t-shirt will “disrupt the learning process,” but are fine with mindless students copying their “heroes” at football games.

    The “freedom and equality” the flag supposedly represents will never be the reality for the victim generation; otherwise, how would the industry of victimization continue to prosper? To get to the nub of the issue, the problem in the AA communities and–for that matter–most impoverished subcultures is simply the lack of values. There are very specific things cultures and subculturs can do to offer the best chance to succeed in America. For every AA or poor southern West Virginian with low education, I can show someone from their background who rose up and achieved, simply because there IS a reasonable equality of opportunity IF you do certain things in life. These mindless protesters are being sheep. Kaepernick–who has not even bothered to register to vote–led the silly way, and others followed.

    The best lesson to teach the Monticello group is a lesson in capitalism: ignore the ridiculous games, ignore the fundraising events, ignore the merchandise, ignore the desperate need to be afilliated and take the asinine stickers off of your cars. Fact is, high school football is a money loser for schools and only serves to help the school’s mission of stripping away individuality. If people want to talk about eroding freedoms, they should talk about the mission of public schools and the NEA to immediately–by the first time a kid walks into a school building–strip away individuality and free thought. THAT is the real rape of freedom.

    The imbeciles “taking a knee” are merely the result of those years of indoctrination.

  11. Ken says:

    Forbes, I didn’t realize there was any learning going on by the students in the stands at football games. The kids are all just thinking about who they want to kiss afterwards anyhow.

    Of course you’re right that many African-Americans (and Americans of other colors) are held back by drugs and alcohol, crime and teen pregnancy, and the perception, inculcated in many schools along with reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, that they are victims pure and simple. Many schools nowadays, at least from what I read and hear, are better at indoctrination than at teaching critical thinking. But at least in the earlier grades and on into high school, it was ever thus and that’s not bad, because they need to be taught something before they can learn be encouraged to question it. There have long been great differences of opinion about American history and American character. It’s just that – put your hand over your heart and say the Pledge of Allegiance, children – you guys didn’t allow dissenting voices to be heard. You guys did the indoctrinating, and apparently that was all right in principle then. Kaepernick (yes, he should register and vote) may have been indoctrinated by Lefties, or he may just have thought through the three wise monkeys-style indoctrination that says America is the greatest country on earth, period, and any criticism of it is Marxist. (Sorry, but I have to laugh at how prolifically you guys apply that label and think it’s a sure-fire argument winner).

    Anyhow, the alt-Right plays the victim card too, that’s their cheap appeal, and African-Americans might have a just _little_ more historical evidence in support of their feelings, don’t you think? The habits that lead to and keep people in poverty are passed down, just as are the habits that lead people to succeed economically. But for African-Americans the bad habits have obvious roots in the enormous trauma and injustice of slavery and the breaking up of the black family. A little empathy would become you, lest you be taken for a racist.

  12. Forbes Kennedy says:

    “The bad habits have obvious roots in the breakup of the black family”? When did they “break up”? Statistics clearly show the breakup of the black family–while routine in the 1600s to 1860s due to slavery (which we conveniently forget has been part of every culture, including African)–black families were quite intact in the middle 20th century. Ironically, the decimation of the black family began with LBJ’s “war on poverty.”
    Black one parent households–17% in 1950; 52% 2010
    Blacks children born out of wedlock–8% in 1965; 41% in 2010; 70% in 2016
    Blacks living married with a spouse–53% in 1950; 25% in 2010

    Now, I know the classic lib mantra is that the “war on poverty” and its failed policies were white men’s policies. However, I hear plenty of the “evil white men” telling all impoverished peoples what needs to be done in the communities to stem the tide of poverty. However, it is pretty tough on the young when those values are dismissed and “if it feels good, do it” becomes the value system.

    Senator Moynihan was indeed prescient. It is a disgrace that his words were ignored and the successors to his seat–disgusting hacks like Clinton and Schumer–line(d) their pockets with agony of the very poor and the hubris of the very rich.

  13. Forbes Kennedy says:

    Also, America is the greatest country on earth. That is opinion “the adjective is subjective) but holds much evidence as well. However–and I know many “conservatives” who believe this–it is not perfect. It was, after all, founded by men. And we can point to people of both sides who were far from perfect, beginning with Columbus right through Trump. But there is such a thing as “American exceptionalism.” Not the ignorant Obama propaganda that it means “we think we are better than everyone else.” That is a distortion. It is the fact that the founding of this country and the goals of its founders were exceptional.

    The problem today–like in many eras–is that the power brokers (NOT pols) keep the divide-and-conquer tactic alive. As long as lemmings keep tossing the word “racist” (especially in italics) around without defining it (kind of like when pols use terms like “middle class” and “working people” without objectively defining them), then the discussion gets muted.

    One final note–and Rob Schilling should mention this on his show…
    Isn’t it an interesting coincidence that UVa decided to pay its new male prez about 50% more per year than the previous female prez AND…
    major UVa donor/Sullivan enemy Paul Tudor Jones and Sullivan was the lone member of the board of The Weinstein Company who refused to sign the Harvey Weinstein notice of suspension letter?

  14. Ken says:

    Forbes, I don’t really follow UVA politics and financial affairs, so I can’t comment on the new president’s pay bump. I’m not sure what your point is about the Weinstein board member (that it somehow taints the UVA administration as a whole?), but if you’re outraged by powerful men who lack integrity, let’s please hear your excoriation of Donald Trump. If you’re not disgusted by Trump’s lifelong behavior, it isn’t malfeasance and cynical dealings you’re really outraged about.

    I hadn’t Johnson’s programs dismissed as just white men’s policies, but that does sound like something a lot of progressives would buy into. I agree that the War on Poverty, which lives on in spirit, although conceived with all good intentions, has had unforeseen negative consequences. It has also provided food and medical care and a chance in life to generations of children who otherwise would have lacked them – kids who were not heroically strong like the examples you guys love to cite, but were just average kids, like maybe you and I were. We should walk a mile in their shoes before we judge them. In 1966, two years after the War on Poverty was announced, 41.8% of African-Americans were poor. By 2012 that number was 27.2%. To modify a famous Moynihan quote, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but should acknowledge the other side’s favorite facts.

    Food, medicine, job training, better schools and shelter which helped African-Americans and many other people, and helped many of them succeed economically – I don’t call that a simple failure. Inasmuch as it has been a failure it is also a noble failure, an effort begun when many white Americans didn’t give damn about the poor, the black poor especially. To attempt to slime the motives of liberals who began it or at this late date still don’t criticize it is, I believe, lacking in charity at least. Many of its wholehearted defenders probably see its faults but believe it’s done more good than harm, and so refuse to lend support to the effort to gut it. I’ll hold them to the standard you guys do when you have the courage and integrity to seriously criticize this sleazebag ignoramus adolescent madman of a president. To leave many of my points and questions unaddressed, as most interlocutors here do, is to lack the courage Moynihan displayed when he criticized the very anti-poverty programs he had helped to formulate.

    Poor black families on average were far less dysfunctional before the War on Poverty, that’s true. But they were no more “intact” than are white Northern families who lost men to a war to keep Southerners, whose proud descendants today call themselves the true patriots, from seceding from the country. Many slaveholders deliberately or just without caring broke up black families. But just get over it, right? I’m sure they will, as soon as you guys get over the Civil War.

    Having said all that, credit where credit is due, your discussion of America as the greatest nation refreshingly is nuanced. I think the problem with the argument for American exceptionalism as it’s usually made is that many of its proponents do sound like they’re boasting, instead of counting themselves fortunate. I usually hear an awful lot of pride when those words are spoken, or can infer it from other things that are said.

    Racism is a difficult word to define in its entirety; there are very different kinds and levels of (and levels of responsibility for) racism, and there is evidence to support the claim that most whites are in some sense racist. It’s a word that will probably always be argued over. But I have no trouble saying that a complete lack of demonstrated empathy for the group one is criticizing is a moral failing. When the group in question is ethnic, that is properly defined as racist.

  15. Al says:

    Ken, you are doing some vast assuming and stretching in that last paragraph. It has me shaking my head. You sure go to great lengths to justify your opinions. Your statements are so vague as to be meaningless. An example is, “there is some evidence that most whites are in some sense racist.” That is pure nonsensical. I think you get caught up in your nuance to the point that you sometimes become incoherent. The sentence I quoted is a clear example. You then imply that someone or some group is clearly lacking in demonstrated empathy. WTH is “demonstrated empathy” in your opinion. It sounds like patronizing would be a much better word IMO. Words mean nothing until they are put into action. As for your last sentence, redefining racism to include ethnicity may be the current rage amongst liberal SJWs but it’s ignorant BS. Hell, they are doing a great job of rewriting history so I suppose rewriting the dictionary to redefine word meanings should be . It appears that angry ignorant loudmouth radicals are now in charge with the millions of well educated sheep from our enlightened education system eager to fall into ranks behind them.

    Meanwhile Mike Signer continues to show his true colors every time he opens his mouth to make a public statement. He allows Shabazz to waltz into his diverse city then vehemently insists new laws will prevent an alt-right assembly in the pretense that they will surely be white supremacist or neo-Nazis. Shabazz is an admitted black supremacist and proud of it but that was perfectly ok. If that city council could market hypocrisy, Charlottesville would be one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

  16. Ken says:

    Al, I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. Racism is a complicated topic and I didn’t do my thinking justice in so few words. There have been a number of studies of implicit racial bias. For example, University of Iowa researchers found that people are more likely to misidentify a toy as a weapon after seeing a black face than a white face — even when the faces are those of young children. I can make a conservative argument in response to this, and if I was talking to a progressive I would – i.e., inner city crime pushes the nationwide per capita rate crime rate for blacks well above that of whites, and people know that, thus their reactions. Also, in fairness, there is some controversy about the accuracy of the study findings. But there have been a number of these studies. In another which used test-takers of all races, 70 percent showed a preference for whites. In another by Stanford University, “about 75% of whites and Asians demonstrated an implicit bias in favor of whites compared to blacks.” Here is just one article on these findings.
    And “but that’s just a far left rag” is not a rebuttal: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/inquiring-minds-david-amodio-your-brain-on-racism/

    The point is that racism is not always conscious or intentional. Add to this that among people and groups who don’t know each other well or don’t agree about their relationship as is often the case here, there is always some degree of caution – in other words, mistrust. That’s just human nature, unfortunately. Besides which both sides are, in a phrase I heard this morning, “racializing economic grievance,” which further adds to the mistrust on both sides. But all this demonstrates what I meant when I said racism is difficult to define and that there are different kinds and levels of it, and levels of responsibility for it. The Left does not address this, which is why the label is often unfair; it’s unfair to tar a well-meaning but unconsciously racist person (which may be all of us) with the same label used for the KKK. But racist speech is another matter.

    I don’t know why “demonstrated empathy” is unclear to you. Yes, actions speak louder than words, and if his actions show he’s not a racist, he can always tell me what they are. But that phrase is actually used to describe actions not matching the right words, as in telling one person “I’m not a racist” and telling another a racially charged joke. In other words, words are the easy part, and Forbes doesn’t even bother to get them right when he sneers and shows no feeling for a group of fellow human beings.

    About Signer: Is he biased in his treatment? Yes. Is he a decent and well-meaning guy? Yes.

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