by Dr. Eowyn
Thanks to millionaire quarterback Colin Kaepernick, spectator sports have degenerated from the NFL’s #TakeAKnee refusal to stand for the National Anthem, to simulating cop-killing.
That’s what a Mississippi high school band did.
Christopher Berg reports for BlueLivesMatter that the incident took place during a halftime performance for a game between Forest Hill High School and Brookhaven High School in Brookhaven, Mississippi on October 5, 2018, just a week after two white Brookhaven police officers had been killed. Dressed as doctors and nurses, Forest Hill High School band members used fake rifles to “execute” students dressed as police officers.
WLBT reports that Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher released a statement citing their disappointment:
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is extremely disturbed by Forest Hill’s leadership approving and allowing their band to display a reenactment of violence against law enforcement at a high school football game in Brookhaven, MS. This is highly inappropriate considering the recent loss of two Brookhaven Police officers to senseless violence.
This only exacerbates the war against law enforcement in our nation. Mimicking acts of violence against law enforcement, or members of the public should never be condoned at a high school football game or any function whatsoever. The Governor’s School Safety Task Force is currently working to reduce school violence which is at an all-time high. I have to question whoever made this decision in regards to what message they are sending to our children.
Forest Hill High School is part of the Jackson Public Schools District. Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene released a statement the next day:
On behalf of the Jackson Public School (JPS) District, I want to offer my deep and sincere apologies for the performance by the Forest Hill High School band during Friday’s football half-time show in Brookhaven. Based loosely on the movie, “John Q,” the band’s performance depicted a hostage scene that included toy guns.
JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners. The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community. For this we sincerely apologize to all, and we pledge to do better in the future.
We have taken some initial actions in response to this matter, and you have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba also released a statement regarding the performance:
I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity that portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show. There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance. While I do not believe that there was a malice intent on behalf of the students that participated in this halftime show, I understand that we are ultimately not defined by the things that we set out to do, but rather how we respond to the things that actually do take place. It is the responsibility of adults to offer guidance to youth. Our students should have been instructed that this was neither the time or place for that performance.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant took to Twitter to say someone should be held accountable:
This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable. t.co/hq3hJnj4xA — Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) October 6, 2018
Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox said Jackson Mayor Lumumba had apologized to him personally for the halftime show and said the Forest Hill band director has been suspended (“placed on administrative leave”) pending investigation.
Forest Hill High School is located at 2607 Raymond Road, Jackson, MS 39212; phone (601) 371-4313. 49% of its 1,190 students are black; 45% are white.
The school has a student:teacher ratio of 17:1, higher than the Mississippi state level of 16:1, but was placed in the bottom 50% of all schools in Mississippi for overall test scores in both math and reading proficiency for the 2015-2016 school year. According to Niche, the school has a 15% ranking in reading proficiency, and 4% in math proficiency.
The school seems to have disabled its website, which thwarted my effort to search for the names of its principal and band director.
But I found the principal’s name on Facebook:
The band is called Marching Falcons. A webpage of a message from the band director is defunct (“404 Not Found”); it’s not even archived on the Wayback Machine:
In other words, the identity of the band director of Forest Hill, a public high school, is concealed from the public. Shame on Forest Hill High School and the Jackson Public Schools District!