Half-time show spurs controversy

Half-time show spurs controversy

Members of the community are calling for Attorney General Greg Abbott to investigate a Beaumont Independent School District high school band performance, citing political bias and lewd sexual acts in the production of the school group’s half-time show.

A portion of the controversy stems from a skit performed by the BISD Central Medical Magnet High School band that depicts presidential candidate Mitt Romney succumbing to a sucker punch by Big Bird of the PBS show “Sesame Street.” Opponents of the skit claim political bias, while supporters state that the performance was nothing more than satire spurring the audience to vote.

According to a news release from the BISD public relations department, a meeting was held with Central High School administrators and band directors.

“The video from Saturday’s high school band halftime show has been thoroughly reviewed to examine the appropriateness of the performance,” the release stated. “While BISD leaders are confident the intentions of the band and band director were to raise awareness of voting and not support any candidate, a message has been conveyed about the importance of avoiding the appearance of physical attack and political satire that can be construed as bias.

“Central High School leaders regret any act that appeared to some as a negative message and/or a political endorsement. Campus administrators and bandleaders have been instructed to thoroughly examine how students plan to express their creativity as it relates to political rhetoric.

“Central Medical Magnet High School Band and Fine Arts Program will continue its traditions of great and award-winning entertainment as the district remains focused on student achievement.”

Beaumont civil rights attorney Vann de Cordova had a different take on the Central show.

“Not only does it show the highly inappropriate political activity by the band, no doubt approved by the band director, but the drum major engaging in simulated sex before the band, also likely approved by the band director. All paid for by the Beaumont taxpayers,” de Cordova wrote to BISD trustees and Superintendent Tim Chargois. “None of this shameful, embarrassing and politically and sexually inappropriate conduct can in good conscience be condoned by anyone with any basic sense of character or decency, and certainly not by those in charge of educating our young. What kind of message is this sending to the impressionable students, the kids you profess to care so much about? What kind of band director would permit this?”

According to de Cardova, “Our local government (i.e., school district) should not be engaged in national political activities at local taxpayers’ expense. Someone needs to address this with the superintendent and board. Someone should lose their job.”