Evanston High band 'protest' begs question: Knowing response or knee-jerk reaction?
The majority of the Evanston Township High School (ETHS) band took a knee during a recent football game, but whether the move was meant to identify with NFL players and the "Take a Knee" movement or just some kids being kids is up for debate.
"If you ascribe adult motives to this, I think you're making a big mistake," Blair Gerber of the Evanston Township GOP told North Cook News. "This is all symbol over substance. Do you really think any of these kids actually know what is going on here, or care? I seriously doubt it."
Approximately 80 percent of the band took a knee during the national anthem.
Eric Witherspoon, the superintendent of Evanston Township High School, was quick to defend the action as an expression of independent thinkers.
"If a student chooses to remain seated or kneel during the national anthem, our existing practice allows students to express their First Amendment right to free speech so long as it does not significantly disrupt the learning environment," Witherspoon wrote in a response. "Our students are on their life journeys as they learn and grow into informed, productive citizens who will continue throughout their lifetimes to enhance our nation, strengthen our democracy, and make this world a better place.
Gerber, however, maintained that there was little thought put ito it.
"At best, they're sheep or puppets," Gerber said. "They are just doing whatever they see done on TV; that's it."
Gerber likened this movement to the Moratorium Movement, in which he took part during the Vietnam War.
"It was a day off of school," Gerber said "That's why I walked out."
In fact, Gerber offered more praise for the students who did not just follow along en masse.
"The independent thinkers were the ones that kept playing and stood," Gerber said. "Those are the ones with courage."