High school forced to apologize after halftime performance sparks outrage over depiction of guns being pointed at police
During a recent football game that took place in a school in Jackson, Mississippi, students took part in a halftime show that didn't go down well with the crowd, the school, or the entire district. And once the incident made the news, many were up in arms over what has been called an "insensitive" display.
Taking place at a football game between Forest Hill High School and Brookhaven High School, the school band put on a halftime performance that soon caused an uproar. In their performance, students dressed up as medical staff, pointing guns at police officers. While they were reportedly performing an interpretation of a scene from the movie John Q, many criticised it for being offensive.
This was especially incendiary given the fact that recently two police officers in Brookhaven died in the line of duty by gunshot last month.
In the aforementioned film, one man (played by Denzel Washington) takes a group of hospital patients hostage, in order to secure treatment for his son.
Jackson's mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, has now confirmed that the director of the Forest Hill band has now been suspended. In a statement of apology, he said:
"There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance.
"While I do not believe that there was a malice intent on behalf of the students that participated in this halftime show, I understand that we are ultimately not defined by the things that we set out to do, but rather how we respond to the things that actually do take place."
“It is the responsibility of adults to offer guidance to youth. Our students should have been instructed that this was neither the time or place for that performance.”
In addition to this, the superintendent of Jackson Public Schools, Dr Errick L. Greene, also released a statement, in which he offered his sincere apologies to those who witnessed the performance.
"JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners," he said. "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 apologise to all."
The Brookhaven School District stressed that they support law enforcement officers, insisting that they had no prior knowledge of the content of the performance. Whether or not the visiting school band knew about Brookhaven's recent history is unclear. The BSD statement read:
"The halftime show performed by the visiting band during [the] game was an unfortunate issue that our district had no prior knowledge of and does not condone.
“We appreciate our community’s support as we continue working to ensure a positive environment of sportsmanship for our student-athletes and those visiting Brookhaven.
As well as the two officers shot in the line of duty, one Trooper was killed in Alcorn County within the same day. If his death is found to be in the line of duty, it will have been the bloodiest 24 hours for police officers in Mississippi's history.