AMES - Since the start of the season, NFL players have been using game time to protest. Now a protest happened here in central Iowa has the nation talking.
The Ames High School marching band has been making headlines since a number of their members walked off the field before playing the national anthem. Some of them thought about kneeling, but decided with counseling from school officials that a walk off was more appropriate.
Since Friday's demonstration, the chatter of what happened on the football field has gone viral in Iowa and around the nation. The school says they expected some backlash, but think it has been blown way out of proportion. They wanted to clarify with the public that the school was involved from the start and was not blindsided by the walk off.
"I am really proud of the fact that they did go to the building principal first and they did say ok what about this," said Ames Community School District Superintendent, Tim Taylor.
It all started when several marching band students wanted to make a statement about inequality at Friday's senior game. The principal and some students decided to change the theme from USA to a Pink Out.
"They were able to talk to one another, they were able to collaborate and they were able to come up with a solution," said Supt. Taylor.
The next topic brought up was the national anthem, which the superintendent said was handled perfectly.
"The fact that they were mature enough to do that and not make it some spontaneous thing really made it a lot better for everybody," said Supt. Taylor.
After the discussion, the band was left with two options.
"Either they had to stand and play the anthem, or if they felt compelled their other option was to leave the field and join their peers and stand in the student section and link arms," said Supt. Taylor. "And that is exactly what they did."
The school says about 13 of the 300 marching band members walked off the field.
"We knew this was one of the situations that can be very divisive because there are two very polar sides to this particular issue," said Supt. Taylor.
They say they fully support their students evn if outsiders do not.
"They have the same right to express their opinion as our kids did Friday night so good or bad we welcome it," said Supt. Taylor. "It's part of life."
Various social media posts and comments have been shared several thousand times about this topic. The school says they have gotten hundreds of calls and emails from people across the country. Some positive, most negative. They say they respect everyone's opinion's and know in time things will blow over.