DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A local high school softball team is taking some heat after they took a knee during the national anthem.
The girls at Cedar Grove High School in DeKalb County took a knee before their playoff game, and the school district is standing by the players.
But the protest left those across the diamond in shock.
It’s just the latest chapter of a raging national debate.
"I grabbed my phone and started recording because I was just in awe that it was happening at a high school game," parent Kristie Long told Channel 2's Justin Wilfon.
Long said she watched in shock as the girls from Cedar Grove became the latest to take a knee to protest police brutality and President Donald Trump.
“It’s extremely disrespectful to our country and our veterans and so forth,” Long said.
Long recorded as the Cedar Grove players and coaches staged the protest before their playoff game in Calhoun on Wednesday night.
Her daughter plays for Calhoun's team.
“I know they were extremely surprised and disappointed,” Long told Wilfon.
But the DeKalb County School District is standing by the Cedar Grove players.
In a statement, the district told Wilfon, “If students should elect to express their free speech rights, we want to create and provide a safe space to do so. The goal is not to interfere with the students’ constitutional right to freedom of speech.”
But now, just one day later, the school chose to block players from speaking out.
After one of the players agreed to talk with Channel 2 Action News, Cedar Grove’s principal told Wilfon in an email, “you do not have permission to interview the player.”
Wilfon did talk with another student, who believes the protesting players stood tall, by kneeling down.
“Basically right now, the flag doesn't’ mean what it’s supposed to, to me,” student Camryn Alexander said. “I’m proud of them.”
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