ACLU Condemns High School for Honoring Police
The American Civil Liberties Union criticized officials at Middletown High School South after the New Jersey school staged an event celebrating police officers, first responders, and military veterans at a football game Friday night. The ACLU, in conjunction with the NAACP and other black activism groups, sent an open letter to school faculty condemning the event.
“As initially described, the event appeared to honor police officers, veterans, service members, and first responders,” the ACLU wrote. “It is a disservice to the students and players that an event that should focus on them, their families, and their communities is being used to send a message that people who express concerns about disparities in the criminal justice system are unwelcome, disloyal or unpatriotic.”
What did Middletown High School South do to give that impression? Well, it had little to do with the event itself and more to do with comments a Middletown officer made to the press. Deputy Chief Stephen Dollinger, who helped organize the event, told the Asbury Park Press that the celebration was meant to be a response to the Colin Kaepernicks of the world.
“It’s OK to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,” Dollinger said. “It’s another thing to not stand up for the national anthem.”
Jasmine Crenshaw of the ACLU said that attitude sent a “frightening message” to students that police would not tolerate anyone who spoke of America’s “history of unequal treatment and systematic oppression.”
Uh-huh. So let’s break this down.
Dollinger himself, in the “controversial” quote, says that it’s “OK” to speak out against all of the things the ACLU says people should be able to talk about. The only problem he has – according to his own words – is with individuals who refuse to honor the national anthem. And even there, he’s not saying it should be illegal to kneel; he simply finds it distasteful, and that’s the message he wants to send.
The ACLU, on the other hand, apparently feels that while football players and high school students who buy into the “black oppression/cops are racist” myth should be able to speak out, anyone who disagrees should keep their mouths shut. Or maybe we’re supposed to believe that if the Middletown Police Department staged a Black Lives Matter event that the ACLU would condemn that as well? Get real.
Athletes have the First Amendment right to disrespect the country and the rest of us have the same right to honor the flag and the anthem. That’s free speech. What the ACLU/BLM/NAACP coalition want is a double standard: Free speech for them, silence for those who disagree.