Members of the Young Conservative Club at Edina High School in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, were fed up with protests against the national anthem. So, they staged a protest of their own.
What began with students refusing to stand during the playing of “Taps” ended with members of the Young Conservative Club (YCC) and their parents filing a federal lawsuit against the school system.
In early November, during an assembly commemorating Veterans Day, as reported by USA Today, about 11 students remained seated during the playing of “Taps” and the national anthem.
In response, YCC members posted video of the protest on the social media site GroupMe. According to USA Today, several comments subsequently added to the post contained “disparaging and racist remarks” about the protesters.
In addition, someone using the handle “Edina High School Anti-Fascists” posted a threatening YouTube against the YCC to the site.
After YCC club president Nick Spades complained to school principal Andrew Beaton about the threatening message, Beaton allegedly ordered the site to be taken down — and that YCC be disbanded.
Members of the YCC and their parents then filed a federal lawsuit, requesting the club be reinstated, and the school district’s speech policy be declared unconstitutional.
Spade said, as reported by USA Today:
“Our club was disbanded […] because we were accused of being intolerant of student protesters during a Veterans Day assembly at our school.
This complete lack of respect, and the fact that the school administration did nothing about it, is one of the reasons that we’re here today.”
As reported by Minnesota’s KARE11, Erick Kaardal, attorney for the students, said Spade “indicated the reason the club was disbanded was that they disrespected protesters.” Kaardal also described some of the comments:
“I think the criticism was some of the students were immigrants. They should go back to their home countries.”
While Edina Public Schools refused to comment about the lawsuit specifically, USA Today reported it said in a statement it:
“[R]espects and adheres to state statute and federal law in regard to the free speech rights of all students and staff and welcomes opportunities for ongoing discourse and respectful debate on topics of importance to our stakeholders.”
Video of a report on the protest and YCC response is below.