A high school football player sued the district where he attended school regarding his right to kneel in protest during the national anthem. The student chose to silently kneel when "The Star-Spangled Banner" was playing during school games as a way of expressing his "personal feelings and concern about racial injustice in our country." He stated that he wanted to provide a reminder that "racial injustice in our country" exists, "which we must not tolerate." He also indicated an intent to kneel during the national anthem at upcoming basketball games and other sport seasons.

The student silently kneeled during the anthem during two football games without incident. However, following the third game during which he chose to kneel, a few students from the opposing high school approached him after the game, made racial slurs, threatened to force him to stand, and sprayed a water bottle, getting one cheerleader wet. In reaction to this incident, the school’s principal spoke with the student’s mother, and he expressed the opinion that the student’s actions could be seen as "disrespectful" to the other school.

Following this incident, the superintendent issued a memorandum to the district's coaching staff entitled "Initial Rules," which stated: “Students and coaches shall stand and remove hats/helmets and remain standing during the playing or singing of the national anthem. Kneeling, sitting or similar forms of political protest are not permitted during athletic events at any home or away games. Violations may result in removal from the team and subsequent teams during the school year.” The “Initial Rules” were never adopted by the board as official district policy. After the memorandum was issued, the student attended an away basketball game where the national anthem was played before the game. He left the basketball court when it began playing, and waited outside.

The student then filed suit, alleging that the district was illegally restricting his right to free speech by forbidding him to kneel during the national anthem. In considering whether this was the case, the court began by noting that certain actions, though not spoken, are considered speech and protected by the First Amendment. This is especially true when these actions involve other patriotic acts, for example, saluting the flag. The court therefore determined that the student’s act of kneeling during the national anthem was a form of speech.

A school can regulate students' speech if the school shows "facts which might reasonably have led school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities" or interference "with the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone.” In this case, the court determined that the student’s silent kneeling during the national anthem was not likely to cause a substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities or interfere with other students' safety. Although there was an incident involving another school, it did not rise to a "substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities," nor did it interfere with the students' safety. The football game was played as scheduled and the threats were minimal and did not lead to any physical violence.

The court found that the district could not lawfully restrict the student or other students from kneeling or sitting during the national anthem and that such action was a form of speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

This case was not decided in Texas and is not binding on Texas courts. However, it does provide a useful insight as to how a Texas court might analyze a similar set of facts.