LOOGOOTEE – Band students and parents turned out in force Tuesday night to support the Loogootee band program and retiring band director Betsy Graves.
The Loogootee School Board moved its monthly meeting to the library to accommodate a crowd in excess of 30 people.
During the personnel actions portion of the meeting, the board did approve the retirement of Graves at the end of the year. She has been a band director and music teacher for 30 years, with the last 20 being at Loogootee.
Graves’ resignation prompted Stacey Bowling, a band parent, to read a statement on behalf of band boosters. With school corporations facing financial pressures due to funding cuts in recent years, he said there might be a temptation for the board members to use Graves’ resignation as an excuse to reduce the band program in the future.
To cut band, or art or other similar program, would be a “grave mistake,” Bowling said. He listed the many character qualities students develop in band.
On another matter, parent Courtney Hughett read a statement in which she claimed a corporation policy was not being consistently followed, therefore resulting in preferential treatment for some students who happen to be good athletes.
She said her 8th grade son Alex had failed two grades on the March 18 report card, which meant he was placed on academic suspension for nine weeks and could not play baseball.
Hughett said she supports academic suspension for students who fail grades, believing education should come before extra-curricular activities. However, a few weeks later, she found out the policy was not being consistently enforced.
While many of the coaches are also teachers, Alex’s baseball coach is not. Hughett said several parents told her their children had been removed from academic suspension when their grades improved in three weeks. However, Alex remained on suspension even though his grades also improved.