Last week the Forest Hills High School band's half-time performance depicted police officers being shot. The school faced fierce backlash because two local police officers had just been killed in the line of duty.
Now, the band is being penalized by the the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) and could face up to a year-long performance ban, the Clarion Ledger reported. The school district will be allowed to appeal the decision, MHSAA president Todd Kelly said.
According to Jackson School District Superintendent Errick Greene, they plan to appeal the decision.
"We don't believe for a moment that any focus of wrongdoing or poor judgment should be placed on the students," Green told WDBJ-TV.
He also said the district has conducted their investigation and will take appropriate action against the band director, although details have not been released due to personnel confidentiality.
"We do not believe there was any malice intended against the Brookhaven community," Greene said. "Unfortunately we do believe there has been a serious lapse in judgment."
Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks, whose territory includes the high school, is defending the band.
"Let's be clear, the band students of Forest Hill should not be punished due to a bad decision made by a teacher," he wrote in a Facebook post.
A group of parents and community leaders held a press conference on Friday, saying the decision penalizes the kids, which they feel is unfair.
“Because of the uproar, they’ve been suspended from performing all year," Pastor Dwayne Pickett told WLOX-TV. "We think that is unfair. The ways these students are being threatened and it’s on the mayor’s Facebook page, different things about hanging students and they should be killed. Who’s going to say something about that?”