A high school band in Brookhaven, Mississippi is facing fierce backlash after a half-time performance depicting police officers being shot. The Forest Hills High School band performed the skit at a neighboring high school less than a week after two police officers were killed nearby.
Pictures and videos of the band's performance went viral on social media. Students were dressed as medical personnel holding SWAT team members at gunpoint.
According to Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Errick L. Greene, the performance was based loosely on the movie "John Q."
Greene released the following statement on Saturday, apologizing for the performance:
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.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety provided the following statement from Commissioner Marshall Fisher to WLBT-TV:
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.
Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox took to Facebook to condemn the high school band's actions:
And Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant tweeted about his disappointment:
This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable. https://t.co/hq3hJnj4xA— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) October 6, 2018
Brookhaven School District, whose high school hosted the game against Forest Hills High School, said they had no knowledge of the performance.
Forest Hill's band director has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation occurs, KDVR-TV reported.
People in the area were shocked and outraged by the students' performance.