High School Band Suspended Over Halftime Show, Upsetting Many

The Forest Hill High School marching band has been suspended from preforming for one year.

Jackson, MS – The Forest Hill High School band has been suspended from performing for the rest of the academic year, after they depicted the execution of police officers during a halftime skit in Brookhaven on Oct. 5.

Just one week after Brookhaven Police Patrolman James White and Corporal Zack Moak were murdered in the line of duty, the Forest Hill High School marching band traveled to Brookhaven with the football team for the game.

During their halftime performance, students dressed as nurses and doctors used fake rifles to depict the execution of students dressed as police officers.

The Mississippi High Schools Activities Association (MHSAA) imposed the penalty against the band on the basis of “inappropriate conduct,” WLBT reported.

More specifically, the MHSAA found the performance was “unbecoming of a wholesome band program,” and that it demonstrated a “lack of administrative control.”

The sanction was immediately met with protest from some parents and members of the community, according to WAPT.

“There are some sensitivities that should have been considered, however, they were doing a performance based on what they practiced,” Reverend Dwayne Pickett told the news outlet. “And now, because of the Mississippi High School Sports Activities Association and because of the uproar, they have been suspended from performing for the all year.”

“We think that is unfair,” Pickett argued. “They deserve the right to be heard. They deserve the right to perform and do what they love to do.”

The reverend was part of a group of parents and religious leaders who held a press conference on Friday in defense of the high school band and its director, Demetri Jones.

Jones has been suspended since shortly after the incident occurred.

The group said it plans to appeal the MHSAA sanction, and claimed that Jones was unaware about the widely-publicized murders of the Brookhaven officers prior to the halftime performance, WLBT reported.

“Let me be clear,” Jackson City Councilman Aaron Banks told WAPT. “We all understand the bad timing for the field show considering what happened to the law enforcement officers there in Brookhaven.”

“However, we are against any punishment toward our children,” he added. “I don’t think anybody’s job should just be thrown out because of bad judgment. Yes, let’s talk about it, let’s discuss the wrong, let’s discuss how we can be more considerate, but we want to keep the program intact.”

“The children suffering are being punished on behalf of bad judgment, or a bad decision, does not need to happen,” Banks said.

Shortly after video footage of the halftime performance went viral, Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Errick L. Greene offered his “deep and sincere apologies for the performance,” the Jackson Free Press reported.

"The performance included toy-guns and the apparent shooting of a character in a dramatized scene that played out on the field as the band played. The scene is an interpretation of the movie 'John Q.,’" Greene confirmed.

"JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners," the superintendent continued. "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,” Greene said.

Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox said that Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba personally apologized to him for the halftime show, WLOX reported.

“I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity that [was] portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show," Lumumba said in a statement to the Jackson Free Press. "There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance.”

Lumumba said he did not believe the Forest Hill students who participated in the show had a “malice intent,” and said the adults tasked with supervising and guiding them should have stepped in.

"Our students should have been instructed that this was neither the time or place for that performance,” he said.

In the film ‘John Q.,’ actor Denzel Washington played the role of a man whose son needed a lifesaving heart transplant that Washington’s character could not afford due to medical insurance limitations, the Jackson Free Press reported.

In one scene, the main character holds a SWAT officer hostage, which is vastly different than what appeared in the high school performance.

The Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher said the performance “only exacerbates the war against law enforcement” across the country, WLOX reported.

“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,” Fisher said. “I have to question whoever made this decision in regards to what message they are sending to our children.”

“This is unacceptable in a civilized society,” Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in a tweet the morning after the Forest Hill High School band’s performance. “Someone should be held accountable.”

Comments (96)
No. 1-50
Skoolboy42
Skoolboy42

It’s called consequences. Somewhere we have gotten away from teaching about choices and consequences. I think it’s a great lesson and one that can impact many surrounding the situation for some time.

LauraJaneT
LauraJaneT

They got off easy.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

Reverend Dwayne Pickett did you ever read Romans 13:1-5? It pertains to submitting to authority, president and police also, Romans 13:1-5 New International Version (NIV) Submission to Governing Authorities

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

They all knew what they were doing. Who do they think they're kidding. Band leader and ANY adult who knew about this needs to be fired. They would demand that if their "race" were subjected to anything like this...........showing blacks being shot. So sick and tired of the black community trying to convince whites it is all their fault when they do horrific things and others are to accept it. B S

Doober
Doober

They should have been expelled!

LEO0301
LEO0301

The action against these students is appropriate. Now, we need to know what they will do with the band director for allowing this shameful skit to be performed. I also have to comment on the response of the "Reverend" and the parents who believe it was simply poor judgement. These kids know better, I assure you. They have to face the consequences of their actions. That's how children learn. The problem so many of these children brought up in the wrong environment have is never being punished for wrong behavior until it's too late and law enforcement has to get involved. The response of these so called adults is embarrassing, especially the "Reverend". Face the music (no pun intended) and move on.

MGM2
MGM2

So ask the Reverend if a group of white students, exactly the opposite of this group of students, staged the mock hanging of a black man as a tribite to the 1997 movie "Rosewood" would he be so dismissive and accepting of the students actions? Would you or anyone in the black fail community cry racisim and hatred? I'll go out on a limb and suggest that there would not only be an outcry but violence demanding the firing of any and all who had knowledge of the "mock hanging". The revocation of teaching certificates and dissolution of the band and expulsion of the students involved in an equally vial event.

ILYCAB
ILYCAB

What they did was bad and heartless but they’re missing the point here. What they did was against the law. There has been students expelled for bringing fake guns on School property so what makes this different. Common sense should have told them what they were doing was wrong. I think they got off too easy. The band director along with any other person at the school that knew they were doing this should be fired. The students holding the guns should be expelled and the rest of them suspended for not reporting it. It’s hard to believe that they didn’t know the cops were killed the week before with all the news. The point is that this action is unacceptable like Governor Bryant said. But also it was against the law and should be taken care of. When they stepped on field with the guns they should have been arrested right then and not allowed to perform. A year probation is letting them off too easy. Somebody needs to pay for breaking the law. If they’re not expelled and charged how can they expelled and charge anyone else that brings a fake gun on School property. Fair is fair. They should have been run out of town after that.

Bstn199
Bstn199

"The children suffering are being punished on behalf of bad judgment, or a bad decision, does not need to happen,” Banks said."....1st these are not children, they are teens, 2nd, they as teens should have known this skit was inappropriate whether or not there had been 2 officers recently murdered, so YES they all should be punished. Time teens learn their actions do and will have consequences, so suspension from a few games, band assemblys is justified. If their coach was behind the untasteful skit he too should take a few weeks off without pay to readjust his behavior and teaching skills, fired, no!! . I think they all got what consequences they deserved for their actions!! Also with all the school shootings that have occured in these teen students lives across the country they should have known depicting any kind of shooting in a school performance was inappropriate, so yes they knew better! And shame on all the adults saying they shouldnt be punished for their actions, again adults not teaching our younger generations about consequences, shame on them too!!!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

This one's easy. Sue the school district.

AngelaB
AngelaB

Sure let them be. Then when these "kids" become adults those guns won't be fake and they'll be dead. Reverend, don't know what religion you are, but surely you've heard "spell the rod and spoil the children?" Here's another one..... don't do the crime if you don't want to do the time.

Pap
Pap

Religious leaders, childrens..? Bullshit ! All insane people band this band and FIRE all respinsible.period

Pap
Pap

Maybe reverend Al Sharpton..

mach37
mach37

If these kids were performing what they regularly "perform and do what they love to do” they deserve the suspension, along with adult guidance on deciding if what they love to do is acceptable behavior. It appears from the article that a lot of people in the district KNOW that this performance was not acceptable, and should have intervened.

DebraDT
DebraDT

They got of lightly. Every adult involved should be fired and the kids suspended and kicked off the band team. How disgusting that any teen would think this was acceptable. These people are raising thugs and condoning this abhorrent behavior

MalinoisMom
MalinoisMom

Yes!! Children get suspended from school just for drawing a picture of a gun! But this HS Band crossed the line in unimaginable ways. I applaud the Suspension of the Band's future performances. As much as I hate it for the band members, I'd like to know how many of the band members "took a knee" in protest and refused to participate in such a vile depiction? I bet nary a single one.

seabat
seabat

There are several things that need to be mentioned. First, what happened to no guns on school property? I know they are fake but still. This isn't a play on a stage. 2nd, after reading some people say they shouldn't punish the kids I think it's based on all the kids being black. Flip it around where white kids were shooting black kids and I think people would call it racist and demand school officials heads! I'm sorry but that's today's world. Lastly, in my opinion, it's never ever ok to act like your shooting law enforcement. In today's world, there is no respect for teachers, parents, or law enforcement. We're going backward, people. Gun violence of any type, other than a self-defense altercation, is unacceptable. If it were up to me the band director, the athletic director, and the principal would have lost their jobs. This type of halftime show should be viewed as way-way out of bounds. Morals, ethics, and values are a thing of the past for the most part. You may now feel free to disagree with me.

Georgia
Georgia

What happened to the "no tolerance" policy. I'm glad they got what they got but frankly, they should have been suspended from school entirely and the teacher that allowed that to go on should be fired.

angeleyes
angeleyes

this display was so over the top as to be almost comical. There were plenty of parents that had to have known what their children were performing and never said a word in protest or forbid their child to participate. The adults who helped the students are the ones who should be punished the most, yes the students should have been suspended, but the adults who's idea this was should be fired. they fire teachers for a lot less than this, so teaching our children to use even fake weapons is ok, to shoot LEOs is ok as long as it's just play.

lucky star
lucky star

obama and holder are responsible for the deaths of policeman

CRETE GARY
CRETE GARY

Hurt these poor little students feelings?Just what do they teach in school now?How about the families of the LEOs who were just killed and those before them.How about the hurt they feel.Band is to play music NOT put on a nasty skit about murder.Teach these kids right from wrong.Just what do you complaining parents want the school to do?Hand out awards for acting?

Surfertom
Surfertom

What the f--- , not gonna change anything. Stupid kids with idiots as leaders.

LaneysSis
LaneysSis

Good and what happened to the Adult Band Teacher?

Writs11
Writs11

The school did the right thing!! This SICKENING, play is beyond words to see kids do such a HORRIBLE, UNTHINKABLE, scene at a football game, not only that it was a high school band, which should hold a high standard. This play was EMBARRASSMENT TO NOT ONLY THE SCHOOL BUT AMERICA'S LAW ENFORCEMENT. I would not only suspend the band but the students who played out the sicking play.

WouldntUliketoNo
WouldntUliketoNo

Sounds like a lot of you need a little safe space, cry me a damn river you snowflakes- you live in America, y'know free speech and all that, so no punishment for anyone is how it should(ve) be(en).

stooge819
stooge819

"Reverend". How can a man of God condone what was done here? Revoke the tax exempt status on his fake church.

WouldntUliketoNo
WouldntUliketoNo

Gun shows still show up in the same counties that have school shootings but nothing is ever done about that so who cares about timeliness and other peoples' sensitivity

Rebelreck
Rebelreck

All I have to say is " Suck it up Buttercup", what those kids did was wrong on so many levels. They need to learn the conseqences of thier actions!!

Ladyfluterby
Ladyfluterby

Where's all the outrage from the gun control folks? Why would the band director or the parents of the students think for even one second that the students having toy guns on the field depicting them shooting ANYONE would be OK? Maybe the answer is they felt it was the right and perfect thing to do because it was LEO's that they were depicting being murdered!

CRIMEFIGHTER777
CRIMEFIGHTER777

Jackson City Councilman Aaron Banks “I don’t think anybody’s job should just be thrown out because of bad judgment. So if that bad judgment were reversed and it was police officers he would feel the same way?

whcfd622
whcfd622

Have to wonder....what would the good reverend say if the band had depicted lynching black people? Wrong is wrong.

BlueWife9
BlueWife9

So had the band performed a skit lynching or killing black people than that would be ok? Right? Because that is what you are asking us to do. To allow it and to say it’s ok to kill 2 police officers. So killing police officers in a band skit is acceptable? No wonder this world is going to hell. This is why racism is still alive and well. Because teachers condone this behavior. They teach our kids that this is ok! There is absolutely no excuse for this. Demetri Jones should be fired and never allowed to step foot in a school ever again!!

Back The Blue
Back The Blue

When I was young and used bad judgement, I got PUNISHED!! That is why am a MAN in every sense of the word!! Pussies!!

simpleton58
simpleton58

Take away their Welfare checks and then see if they think it was okay.

Mrs10
Mrs10

Guns - real or fake - are not allowed on school properties. I believe it's an expellable offense. And possibly a criminal act depending on location.

That the band director used this scheme at all is rather stupid and that it was played out in this town at this time was deplorable.

And as many of you have pointed out, these "children" are almost adults and could have exercised good judgment to speak out against this performance. They they didn't is tremendously disappointing and frightening!

DRTice
DRTice

It should be a longer suspension. They knew it was wrong, either that or go repeat a few grades till you do learn it.

Julsydan
Julsydan

It doesn’t matter if they were only acting out a movie, it depicted VIOLENCE!! It NEVER should have been displayed by kids at a school function! They SHOULD be suspended! Their parents should support this! Shame on them for not!

paula
paula

they need to be held back a year idc very ignorant kids

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Band members are normally great students. There's no need for them to repeat grades. People should be held back for poor academic performance, not upsetting people.

silenthill27
silenthill27

should just expel every single one of these pieces of shit. no need to waste educational resources on scum like this

Richard Kurtz
Richard Kurtz

If someone needs to be suspended over it, the adult in charge of them should be the only one. Not the kids who did what they were allowed to do.

c.bolen
c.bolen

#1 - The band director did knowingly break state and federal law by bringing guns on a school campus (real or fake). He should be going to jail; not just in jeopardy of losing his job. #2 - The students (and by extension, their parents) have every opportunity to either refuse to do that portion of the show or at least tell the band director they didn't feel it was right. In short, they went along with it willingly. There is no need to say they should be held back but the MHSAA was right in suspending the program for the year.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Like someone in a post on the earlier story said, this was not a simulation for shooting cops. They were reenacting a scene from the movie John Q, and holding cops hostage.

Y'all are crybabies.

Ritchie Rhoades
Ritchie Rhoades

When a Brookhaven student shows up with a real gun --- which is exactly what could have feasibly happened here and was completely ignored --- the district will know their failures regarding their handling of this incident. Unfortunately it will end up being blamed on responsible law abiding gun owners and the answer will be infringing on our rights instead.

Walkthewalk
Walkthewalk

The whole "act" of a shooting is wrong. What is happening to our morals? When does pretend killing become entertainment? I agree with the punishment. There is a consequence to everything you do. Think first..what will happen if I do this? What were they thinking? This is not a situation of freedom of expression. It was plain bad judgment and deserves to be corrected .

Walkthewalk
Walkthewalk

How is it that not 1 kid said no,this is not right? I hope I am wrong. I hope someone in the group saw the wrong.

Mewwsical
Mewwsical

This is a band, not an acting troop. Band is about music and dance (twirlers, poms, flags)... not re-enacting movie scenes, especially one as inappropriate as this.

AnnieFoxe
AnnieFoxe

They knew EXACTLY what they were doing! Some blacks will take up for other blacks no matter what they do, if they murdered someone right in front of the whole crowd instead of using a real gun, they would still have an excuse as to why it's excusable! TRUTH!

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

BlueWife9 said -"Demetri Jones should be fired and never allowed to step foot in a school ever again!!"

Agreed except for that Demitri should be brought up on criminal charges as well . The kids should be suspended from school ( although doubt they would care) and banished from band and had absolutely no common sense among the entire group. Whenever you think blacks are ignorant along comes another example that makes the prior example pale in comparison. This is one of those examples and displays how far out of the mainstream logic and thought process that this community exhibits.

BTW--The only point that LowEST IQ ever makes is the shape of his pointy head. Do not waste your time on this anti White agenda demented and ignorant fool.

Rdhdkid
Rdhdkid

All of the adults involved in creating this need to be fired.

Caroparks53
Caroparks53

They knew this was wrong. All were old enough to know right from wrong. The band leader is responsible for allowing it. The students n their parents are guilty.the punishment should stay. No band for any who participated. I back the blue.it is obvious these people do not