School band shocks with halftime show stunt

A controversial halftime show by a Mississippi high school marching band has caused its director to be placed on administrative leave.

Posted: Oct 13, 2018 4:01 AM
Updated: Oct 13, 2018 4:17 AM

A Mississippi school district has apologized and a high school band director has been suspended after the band staged a halftime skit that depicted police being held at gunpoint.

The controversial skit came as the Forest Hill High School band from Jackson performed Friday during a football game against Brookhaven High School to the south. It shocked many at the game in Brookhaven, where just six days earlier two police officers were killed in a shootout with a suspect.

"I was sad because of what happened last weekend, and it felt like they were making fun of it," Sarah McDonald, a Brookhaven High School student, told CNN affiliate WJTV.

A woman who said she was a graduate of Brookhaven High School found the performance insensitive.

"I was shocked by the halftime performance just because of everything that our community is going through," the woman told CNN affiliate WLBT. "No disrespect to Forest Hill, when they decided to do a performance, they should've took that into consideration that we were already going through a lot at this time. We are still trying to figure out what needs to be done about the situation."

The episode outraged people around the state and has drawn criticism from Mississippi's governor, who called it "unacceptable."

The halftime skit

In the skit, a handful of students dressed as doctors and nurses pointed fake AR-15-style rifles at other students dressed as SWAT team members. A school official offered "deep and sincere apologies" for it.

"(Jackson Public Schools) has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners," Superintendent Errick L. Greene said in a statement. "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."

Greene said the skit was inspired by "John Q," a 2002 movie starring Denzel Washington in which a father holds staff at a hospital hostage to get a heart transplant for his dying son. He did not explain what the movie has to do with football or the school community.

The superintendent said the district had taken "some initial actions" regarding the skit.

"You have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel," Greene said.

The Forest Hill High School marching band's director, Demetri Jones, has been placed on administrative leave, WLBT reported.

The reaction

Brookhaven High School has filed a formal complaint with the Mississippi High School Activities Association. CNN reached out to the association for comment and is waiting to hear back.

The Brookhaven School District also put out a statement, affirming its support for local law enforcement.

"The halftime show performed by the visiting band during (Friday) night's game was an unfortunate issue that our district had no prior knowledge of and does not condone," the district said. "Our main focus remains, as always, on the safety of our students and the student-athletes performing on our fields. We appreciate our community's support as we continue working to ensure a positive environment of sportsmanship for our student-athletes and those visiting Brookhaven."

Walter Armstrong, president of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, called the skit "deplorable, disgusting, and outrageous."

"It is never okay for students to participate in something that defiles and desecrates a law enforcement officer," Armstrong said in a statement. "The adults in charge here should know better."

The Facebook page of Forest Hill High School has been flooded with angry comments. Even Mississippi's governor went to Twitter to express his disgust.

"This is unacceptable in a civilized society," Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted. "Someone should be held accountable."

The shooting

The two Brookhaven police officers were killed in a shootout early on September 29.

The officers -- identified as Cpl. Zach Moak, 31, and Patrolman James White, 35 -- were responding to an early morning call about shots fired when they were attacked.

A suspect, Marquis Aaron Flowers, 25, of Brookhaven, was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the officers.

Moak had been on the job since 2015 and was recently promoted to corporal, Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins said. White returned to the department in 2015 after an earlier stint there.

"These were two awesome people who lost their lives this morning in the line of duty," Collins said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60898

Reported Deaths: 1698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19271835
Ramsey7572265
Dakota4414106
Anoka3683114
Stearns289320
Washington212845
Nobles17646
Olmsted173223
Scott155919
Mower11012
Rice10328
Blue Earth9185
Wright8845
Carver8613
Clay78440
Sherburne7238
Kandiyohi6961
St. Louis55319
Todd4262
Lyon4253
Freeborn3591
Steele3482
Nicollet33713
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona26116
Beltrami2400
Crow Wing23514
Le Sueur2201
Martin2075
Chisago2011
Goodhue1969
Otter Tail1943
McLeod1810
Cottonwood1780
Becker1571
Pipestone1579
Polk1534
Waseca1480
Itasca14712
Douglas1441
Carlton1370
Unassigned13441
Pine1290
Dodge1270
Isanti1250
Murray1221
Chippewa1041
Morrison921
Wabasha920
Brown892
Faribault870
Jackson860
Meeker852
Rock850
Sibley832
Koochiching773
Pennington751
Cass722
Mille Lacs713
Renville645
Fillmore630
Lincoln580
Grant553
Swift531
Roseau520
Yellow Medicine520
Pope480
Houston420
Aitkin401
Norman400
Kanabec361
Redwood360
Wilkin343
Hubbard330
Marshall290
Mahnomen271
Wadena270
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle70
Cook50
Kittson30
Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48781

Reported Deaths: 929
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10309207
Woodbury371952
Black Hawk312766
Linn237588
Johnson209619
Dallas188535
Buena Vista179412
Scott171814
Dubuque167631
Marshall144426
Pottawattamie132526
Story116614
Wapello90033
Muscatine84748
Webster8017
Crawford7283
Sioux6343
Cerro Gordo62517
Warren5641
Tama55129
Jasper47826
Wright4721
Plymouth4629
Clinton3973
Dickinson3814
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2583
Hamilton2461
Franklin24110
Bremer2267
Clarke2013
Carroll1921
Emmet1924
Clay1901
Shelby1841
Hardin1810
Des Moines1792
Marion1730
Poweshiek1598
Benton1561
Jackson1561
Allamakee1554
Floyd1552
Mahaska13917
Cedar1331
Guthrie1325
Jones1302
Buchanan1271
Henry1254
Hancock1222
Butler1212
Madison1212
Pocahontas1152
Lee1143
Lyon1132
Delaware1121
Humboldt1111
Cherokee1081
Harrison1071
Clayton1043
Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek971
Page940
Kossuth910
Monona910
Mills890
Sac850
Jefferson840
Palo Alto840
Winnebago840
Calhoun832
Osceola830
Fayette820
Grundy791
Mitchell780
Union771
Cass741
Monroe737
Lucas684
Worth660
Montgomery594
Davis572
Chickasaw540
Appanoose493
Howard490
Fremont420
Greene410
Van Buren371
Keokuk351
Adair300
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur230
Ringgold221
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned60
Rochester
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
Mason City
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
Albert Lea
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
Austin
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 70°
Charles City
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Clouds clear tonight, tracking sunshine for Tuesday!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

How you can raise funds with a local tech companies app

Image

Sara's 6pm Forecast - Monday

Image

Saving A Historic Church

Image

Rochester International Airport announces new service

Image

Primary Election Day is Tomorrow

Image

Clocktower becoming permanent in Rochester

Image

Record testing numbers in MN

Image

Vandalism at Mason City businesses

Image

New Grants For Businesses

Image

Preparing for Minnesota's Primary

Community Events