Band program halted at Benton Harbor High School
Posted: Jul 8, 2015 2:04 AM EDT | Updated: Jul 8, 2015 2:15 AM EDT
Members of the Benton Harbor High School marching band were escorted off of school property Monday.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, upset parents and students came looking for answers.
According to the school board, the former band director did not have proper state certification so he was let go in May.
The School board said they are actively searching for a new band director.
Until they find one, students are not allowed to be on school property for band camp or practice.
Ameka Blu was at the school board meeting and she said something doesn’t add up because she said an adult was there with the students on Monday when they were asked to leave.
“Yesterday our flag mother and another person came up here to practice and they were escorted out of the building,” Blu said.
Blu came to the meeting with Benton Harbor High School students and her daughter, Kalicia Wills, who is going to be a sophomore.
“We’re not allowed to practice and it’s kinda like what are we supposed to do? We want to perform next year,” Wills said.
According to the school board, the previous band instructor didn’t have a teaching degree or certification approved by the Michigan Board of Education so that's why they let him go.
“It helps me prepare for my life and the future and it’s very important to me to be with the band members because I enjoy being around them and making music,” Wills said.
To put things into perspective, the assistant superintendent for Benton Harbor Schools resigned at the end of June. The current superintendent is on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation, and the acting superintendent, Gregory Weatherspoon took to the job on Monday.
“There’s an ongoing investigation as well as everybody knows, the problem I have as an acting superintendent, is everything must go on for the kids and the community,” Weatherspoon said.
Weatherspoon came out of retirement to help the school administration during this difficult time. He said he worked for 40-years as a superintendent, emergency manager and for the Michigan Department of Education.
Weatherspoon said under his supervision he didn't feel that kids should be at school unsupervised and all teachers need proper credentials.
“You gotta worry about safety number one. It is time for band camp to start happening, we do have the post (online) and we do have candidates! So we’re getting to it! It’s not snappy like it used to be,” Weatherspoon said.
Weatherspoon was introduced to the public as the acting superintendent Monday night.