Peters school board attacking marching band

Published Jun 12, 2013 at 6:04 am (Updated Jun 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm)

Well, they’ve done it again. The Peters Township School Board has distinguished itself once more by meeting to not solve our district’s budget, curriculum and facilities issues, but to advance their malevolent and inexplicable need to disrupt and interfere with, of all things, the high school marching band.

In a personnel meeting on May 29, the board singled out the marching band sponsors from a list of nearly 100 other positions being approved by the personnel committee. In addition, in a closed-door executive meeting, they removed the name of one of the co-directors entirely�– not her position, but the individual herself. Mrs. Fox is retiring at the end of the school year after 38 exemplary years of service, but out of loyalty to the band, desired to continue her sponsor role through the summer to help the band prepare for its 2013-14 season. In comments made to several band supporters after the meeting, a board member condescendingly and patronizingly insinuated that their removal of the Mrs. Fox’s name from the list was for her own good –�she had served the district well enough for 38 years and should just go off and enjoy her retirement. Additionally, the board member mentioned that the board wanted to see what the marching band director was capable of doing on his own. Heaven save us from a school board that not only oversteps its bounds dictating the terms of a staff person’s retirement, but does so with the not-so-subtle insinuation that their hope is that they are also setting up that person’s coworker to fail.

The board’s performance was an embarrassment to the community. Our marching band kids perform at dozens of football games during their years in band. They have watched Peters teams win – and lose – with grace and dignity. Our band students were in attendance at the standing-room-only meeting of the board last week in order to show their support for the marching band and its staff leadership. Little did they know that a school board meeting is the place to go in Peters Township to see where character doesn’t count, as they witnessed the spectacle of a school board member shrilly shouting over other board members and menacingly pointing her finger at the board’s own legal counsel. Our student athletes demonstrate good sportsmanship and good manners on and off the field. Some members of the school board could learn a lesson from them and not make a board meeting the place where poor sports and sore losers come to grind one last ax before fading into irrelevancy.

The school board ultimately approved the band sponsors, but it is a hollow victory given the shameful treatment of the band’s beloved codirector, who was used as an unwilling pawn in the board’s ongoing assault against the Mighty Indian Marching Band. The school board will NEVER have the satisfaction of seeing what the director is capable of doing�or not doing – by himself. The Mighty Indian Marching Band succeeds because of the commitment and dedication of ALL of its members,�more than 150 musicians, dozens of student leaders and hundreds of parent volunteers. Mr. Barney, rest assured, you will NEVER walk, or march, alone.

God bless Mrs. Fox. The Mighty Indian Marching Band will proudly and defiantly march into the future with you in their hearts and they will do so in a Tradition of Pride and Excellence, just like you taught them.

Libby Chalifoux

McMurray

Peters school board attacking marching band

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