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Controversy boils over Newington girls volleyball team kneeling during National Anthem

NEWINGTON – The trending NFL protest, kneeling for the National Anthem made its way to Newington High School.

The controversy all started as soon as a Board of Education member wrote a post in the Facebook forum, “Newington Free Speech Speak Your Mind” after some members of the girls volleyball team kneeled.

He said it was not acceptable and the topic became so talked about, the players that did kneel spoke out at the Board of Ed meeting on October 11th.

“My intention was not to insult our country or veterans but rather exercise my rights, the rights of veterans and how much they sacrificed for,” said Varsity volleyball player, Yasmin Rincon.

Rincon was one of five players on the team of 12 that kneeled. The picture that was taken on September 28th was shared all over social media.

Student Council President Lukas Houle was one of the people that spoke out at the meeting.

“Setting precedents that disavow our students from First Amendment rights to protest, but we can’t disavow awful bullying in the same thread?” said Houle.

Board members eventually came forward and said they support the players in their decision to kneel.

One freshman volleyball player FOX 61 talked to said she agrees.

“I kind of feel that it’s disrespectful because a person shouldn’t tell someone else what they can and can’t do. If you believe in something well enough, you should be able to do it,” said Danielle Kuwornu.

The players’ athletic director, Christopher Meyers said there has been a conversation held with the team about kneeling.

“I’m very proud of the fact that our student athletes are engaged with their rights of citizenship and that they want to become active members of their community,” said Meyers.

FOX61 knocked on Silvia’s door but no one answered. Instead, he posted another statement on the same Facebook forum and said, “On a raw, emotional level, my instinctive reaction to the event that occurred was to cringe and ask ‘why?’”

However, there are people that agree with Silvia and said kneeling is not appropriate during the National Anthem.

“I think that if they did it before or after the game, they could hand out pamphlets or have some signs and people would have a better understanding of what they were trying to protest,” said Florence Dickie of Newington.

At Friday night’s game, despite the support the team got, none of the players kneeled.

FOX61 tried to ask some of the varsity players why they chose to stand at Friday night’s game but the head coach said her players were not interested in commenting on camera.

We also reached out to Silvia through email and Facebook but have yet gotten a reply.