AMES, Iowa (AP) — School district leaders have declared their support for members of a central Iowa high school marching band who protested inequality in the nation by leaving the football field during the national anthem.

The incident happened before Ames High School's home football game against another school Friday night. Some other band members reportedly did not play their instruments during the performance.

A statement from school district leaders Monday praises the students, saying they protested "the right way" and "didn't resort to violence, and they didn't resort to one-sided arguments."

Athletes, primarily National Football League players, have been protesting police brutality in recent weeks by either kneeling or linking arms during the national anthem. Others have stayed in their locker rooms.