Capital High School Principal Clinton Giles. Courtesy Capital High School Website.

A black high school principal in Kanawha County, West Virginia came under fire after forcing students to stand up for the African-American National Anthem (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”) and disciplining those who refused to follow the order.

According to reports from the Charleston Gazette, Capital High School principal Clinton Giles changed the school policy on Wednesday, making it optional rather than mandatory for every student to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem and the so-called Negro National Hymn after series of complaints from students and parents.

The Kanawha County School Superintendent Ron Duerring said, “My understanding is we had some calls from parents that students were being told that they had to stand and if they didn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, and I also believe they played the African-American national anthem, then they were disciplined for that.”

He added, “There are court cases at the national level, supreme court level, federal and state that say you can’t force any child to stand for any pledge of any kind.”

Although the black national anthem will continue to be played, students are expected to either stand up or sit quietly while it plays over the school’s  loudspeakers as it usually does on Fridays.

Follow Abdul Sada on Twitter.