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SW DeKalb parents want band ban lifted | Education

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SW DeKalb parents want band ban lifted

DECATUR, Ga. -- Parents of band members at Southwest DeKalb are outraged that school officials would punish their kids before proving any of them guilty of anything.

The parents were stunned by the administration's decision to suspend all band activity on the basis of two vague incidents last summer that did not happen at Southwest DeKalb.

"We're not getting any answers from them, and I think they're being negligent against our students and our parents," said SWD band booster club president Keith Sailor. "We're concerned about our kids."

The booster club met at Peso's Cantina Thursday night to plan their strategy to get the bands reinstated.

"Students are confused," said one parent. "They're being mistreated, and it needs to be addressed."

There are 21 high schools in the county, but SWD is the one with the world-renowned band... and extensive connections to FAMU, though students insist that hazing isn't one of them.

"It doesn't exist at all," said band member Troy Nelson. "And I don't think it's fair at all that they're looking for anything, because there's nothing to look for."

Parents say the suspensions have stigmatized their kids and even put scholarships in jeopardy.

"Our percussion kids just played a concert this past Sunday at the governor's mansion," said band parent Marvette Critney. "So from playing that and having a fantastic time to having everyone point."

The parents say the investigation needs to be transparent, and the fact that nobody from the administration was at the meeting is a step in the wrong direction.

"I was looking forward to interacting with other band students that attend different schools, which is one thing I like to do," said Jordan Jones, an SWD senior band member. "We get together and have fun. And I might be missing out on that this year."