JPS planning to appeal MHSAA’s decision to suspend Forest Hill band for remainder of the year

Forest Hill High School band suspended

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A week after the controversial halftime performance, Forest Hill High School’s band didn’t take the field during Friday night’s football game.

This came shortly after it was revealed during a press conference held by parents and community leaders that the band was suspended from performing for the remainder of the year.

“Because of the uproar, they’ve been suspended from performing all year," said Pastor Dwayne Pickett. "We think that is unfair. The ways these students are being threatened and it’s on the mayor’s Facebook page, different things about hanging students and they should be killed. Who’s going to say something about that?”

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene released a statement Saturday saying that Jackson Public Schools intends to appeal the sanctions levied against the Forest Hill High school band by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

Group holding a press conference in support of Forest Hill band students.

Posted by Courtney Ann Jackson WLBT on Friday, October 12, 2018

This group claims the band director had not heard the news and was unaware of the two Brookhaven officers who had been killed in the line of duty a few days prior.

One band parent said last Friday was the first time this part of the halftime show had been performed because they were adding in new elements ahead of the upcoming band competition scheduled for the following day.

“We look at all the other angles, but not how it’s affecting our kids," noted Alvin Jackson, Forest Hill High School band booster president. "The kids are not even going to the band hall. Not even going to band class. They’re meeting up in the cafeteria or auditorium. So, they don’t even have anything in place for our children.”

Many of the questions on social media have centered around whether there is a policy that specifically prohibits the toy guns that were used in the performance. The Mississippi High School Activities Association said the ROTC programs or rifle corps are allowed, but that the types of imitation weapons used by Forest Hill were out of the ordinary of what performance gear typically includes.

MHSAA did issue a notice of penalty regarding the situation Tuesday. Inappropriate conduct is the basis of that notice, including conduct unbecoming of a wholesome band program and lack of administrative control.

There is an opportunity for the school or district to appeal the notice.

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