Beaumont Independent School District administrators Monday met with the band directors and administration of Central High School to discuss a controversial halftime performance Saturday night by Central Medical Magnet High School's marching band.
The performance featured students dressed as President Obama, Governor Romney, and Big Bird from the popular children's television show Sesame Street.
Most high school football halftime shows feature a simple performance from a marching band. But some say Central High School's band may have gone too far Saturday night when they had a student dressed as Big Bird pretend to knock out a student wearing a Mitt Romney mask, and that has some school board members concerned.
School officials reviewed a video of the show during Monday's meeting to examine its appropriateness.
Following the meeting, the district issued a statement.
"While BISD leaders are confident the intentions of the band and band director were to raise awareness of voting and not support any candidate, a message has been conveyed about the importance of avoiding the appearance of physical attack and political satire that can be construed as bias," says the district in the statement. Follow this link to read more of the statement.
12News spoke with school board members over the weekend after our news room was contacted by football fans who attended the game.
"It was cute when you had Romney dancing and you had Obama dancing, to me there's nothing wrong with that, it's just a presentation of who's running for president, but at the end when one of them gets knocked out, it just to me goes a little bit overboard," BISD school board member Mike Neil said Sunday evening.
Gwen Ambres, another board member, said, "You don't want to be polarizing...this is an entertainment type high school event, and I don't think that the partisan part of politics should be a part of that."
But they're not the only ones talking. The controversy has blown up through social media. We posted the video to the 12 News Facebook page just after 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon and by 4 o'clock we already had almost 200 comments.
Many people expressed anger. One man saying, "Somebody needs to lose their job," but another person defending the band wrote, "Freedom of Speech!! Let them voice their opinions."
Ambres said, "I'm sure they (BISD) will do some teaching about what is and what is not appropriate in a halftime show."
But Neil said this all could have been avoided.
"The halftime shows don't need to be controversial, they need to be fun, they need to be light, we're there to watch a football game, and to watch a halftime show, and to bring any kind of political advocacy into it is just out of place," he said.
In a statement issued to 12 News Sunday evening, BISD spokesperson Ron Reynolds wrote, "Administrators with the Beaumont ISD will conduct a review of the appropriateness of Central High School Band's half time performance at Saturday's football game that featured political satire."
12News will have more on this story tonight at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m.