JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Pictures of the Forest Hill High School halftime band performance during their game against Brookhaven High School are going viral on social media.
Many are saying the performance depicted students dressed as doctors and nurses holding SWAT team members at gunpoint.
Two Brookhaven police officers were killed in the line of duty responding to a shots fired call last week.
One of the Facebook posts has been shared over 900 times.
The mayor of Brookhaven released a statement Sunday on Facebook.
Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Errick L. Greene released a statement on Saturday.
"On behalf of the Jackson Public School (JPS) District, I want to offer my deep and sincere apologies for the performance by the Forest Hill High School band during Friday’s football half-time show in Brookhaven. Based loosely on the movie, “John Q,” the band’s performance depicted a hostage scene that included toy guns.
JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners. 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 apologize to all, and we pledge to do better in the future.
We have taken some initial actions in response to this matter, and you have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel."
Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox said he has since spoke with the Mayor of Jackson, who informed him that the Forest Hill band director has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. He added that the mayor apologized to him personally for the halftime show.
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety released a statement citing their disappointment.
“The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is extremely disturbed by Forest Hill’s leadership approving and allowing their band to display a reenactment of violence against law enforcement at a high school football game in Brookhaven, MS. This is highly inappropriate considering the recent loss of two Brookhaven Police officers to senseless violence,” said Commissioner Marshall Fisher.
Fisher went on to add that there is no excuse for such a distasteful performance.
"This only exacerbates the war against law enforcement in our nation. Mimicking acts of violence against law enforcement, or members of the public should never be condoned at a high school football game or any function whatsoever. The Governor’s School Safety Task Force is currently working to reduce school violence which is at an all-time high. I have to question whoever made this decision in regards to what message they are sending to our children.”
The Mayor of Jackson also released a statement regarding the performance.
“I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity that portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show. There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance," said Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. "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.”
Jackson City Councilman Aaron Banks, a Forest Hill graduate, released this statement:
“As a councilman and graduate of Forest Hill High School, I deeply regret the performance of the Forest Hill High School Band this past Friday. It is very distasteful for us as a community of educators and leaders to not be aware, nor sensitive to the current negative portrayal and display of disrespect toward our Law Enforcement Community. We have to be very careful with what we allow, understanding that it was a presentation from the movie John Q, does not excuse the use of toy or play guns. Especially when so many students, teachers and first responders have lost their lives surrounding the same visual. It is my prayer, that we as a community we will continue to educate and foster an atmosphere conducive of a community who embraces and appreciates its law enforcement community and that we cast down anything that portrays the opposite. As leaders, we must evaluate the content of what we do, say and act out and what message it sends.”
Governor Phil Bryant took to Twitter to say someone should be held accountable.
A statement from the Brookhaven School District was released on Facebook.
Many left comments saying they were shocked and outraged by the performance.