Was Police Escort Necessary During Monroe Band Competition? [POLL]
Do you feel that police needed to be used to escort one band off the stage at last Friday’s Battle of the Bands competition at Monroe Twp. High?
To hear one parent tell it, it was a complete overreaction on the part of the school’s principal to use police – and his subsequent punishment to the band’s members.
Turns out one of the members of the band, the drummer, was not a student at Monroe Twp.
But according to a parent of one of the band’s members, they were never given a reason as to why they couldn’t perform their set.
Only to be informed by security and police at the show to get off the stage.
A parent of a Monroe Township High School student is confused as to why police were involved in escorting his son’s band off the stage at the annual Battle of the Bands Friday evening.
Tom Robertson believes it was an “abuse of power” by Principal Robert Goodall.
He is further questioning why the three MTHS students, all sophomores, were given out-of-school suspensions.
Robertson, who sat in the fourth row, said, “it was shocking and completely unnecessary. Talk about an over-reaction. The kids announced that they want to bring up their drummer. The principal and the other teachers did not say anything.”
According to Robertson and the video he took, the band, Sovereign Kings, took the stage and prepared to play.
The 15-year-old bassist and lead singer took the microphone and said “What is a band without all its members? All our band members are here, so we are going to have him come up and play a song.”
On the video, the 14-year-old drummer, who is a freshman at Spotswood High School, joined his bandmates on stage. After a warm up, they start to play a song. Then, a female security guard and two police officers enter the stage from the wing and escort the drummer off the stage. The woman speaks to the MTHS band members and gestures to them to exit the stage.
Lead guitarist Patrick Robertson said, “when she came over to me she said, ‘No. It’s time to get off the stage.’ ” “We thought they would let us play and just disqualify us. I guess not. We are a band — we are like a family. We thought it was unfair that they wouldn’t let him play.”
Patrick believes Battle of the Band rules ban students who do not attend Monroe Township High School, however, the band mates did not receive clarification.
Tom Robertson said, “the principal says nothing. The police say nothing,” “I saw the officers go on stage, and I first thought something catastrophic had happened. They scared people. They scared the band. They scared me, too.”
As seen on the video, with the police on stage, the 16-year-old rhythm guitarist takes a microphone and said “tyranny” to the laughter of some audience members. The Sovereign Kings then grabbed some of their gear and left the stage.
“He does not give anyone the finger; he made (the) sign of the heavy metal horns,” Tom Robertson said. “It was all very peaceful.”
Robertson said he confronted Goodall after the performances and asked him why he got police involved.
“He started to tell me that they broke the rules of the contest,” he said. “I then said, ‘It’s just a silly contest. As far as I can see they did not break any laws, so why were police and security guards used?’ He could not answer me.”
Before leaving on a business trip Monday, Robertson said he called Goodall’s office and left a message about the incident. Robertson also called Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton and the county superintendent’s office and left messages. While he did speak directly to an assistant superintendent who assured him of a call back by the superintendent, Robertson said he has not heard from them.
Additionally, Patrick Robertson and his band mates were called one-by-one to Goodall’s office on Monday.
“When Mr. Goodall called me down, he wanted to know what our drummer’s name was and why we did what we did,” Patrick Robertson said. “He seemed frustrated when he talked to me.”
Robertson and the bassist/lead singer received a three-day suspension, while the rhythm guitarist received five. The days were to be served starting Wednesday.
When the bandmates discovered the rhythm guitarist who said “tyranny” received five days instead of three, they asked again to speak with Goodall.
Patrick Robertson said, “when we asked him why, he said that if we didn’t go back to class, he would call the police.” “We didn’t understand and really wanted him to tell us. We asked again. I don’t see what we were doing wrong in asking a question.”
Tom Robertson would like to see an investigation as to why police and security officers were ordered in by Goodall, as he believes the action and additional threat Monday were unnecessary.
Ordinarily I’d say this sounds to me like a principal who’s out of control.
I’m hesitant to brand him such as I do not know, from his end, why he did what he did during the show or his subsequent meeting with the band members.
We might be dealing with a parent who feels his son is entitled to interpret the rules as he sees fit.
(Just going to the paper alone leads me to believe this!)
Then again, without knowing what the principal has to say about any of this, his silence speaks volumes!
You tell me: