Marching Band Loses Member

The Marching Band Heads into Grand Nationals One Member Short


A copy of the Northmont High School Band Absent Request Form

Enzo Libertini, News and Entertainment Editor

A student was removed from the marching band recently on the grounds that she was absent too many times without turning in an absent request form. The student, who will remain anonymous, was never warned about this impending result. She claims that no one ever told her her absences were a problem until the day she was kicked out.

“The most recent time I was absent was because I was taking the ACT,” she said. She claims she always told her section leader or a drum major whenever she wasn’t going to be at practice. “I was never told I was in danger of being kicked out of band,” she said. “I suffer from depression and anxiety, and most of the times I was absent was because I was seeing a psychiatrist.”

The band absence request forms state after one unexcused absence the privilege to a halftime performance, third quarter break, or post-game performance are revoked at the following week’s football game. After the second unapproved absence, the student would be prohibited from performing in the following band contest. Then, finally, after the third unapproved absence, the student would be removed from the Northmont High School Marching Band. However, this student claims this procedure was not followed correctly.

“I  was never required to sit out of band or punished in any way because of my absences before I was removed from the band,” the student said.

Her family is still required to pay the five hundred dollar fee to cover the season she has participated in already.

“We still have five hundred dollars to pay, but if we were to pay this sum of money that we supposedly still owe it would financially hurt my family for nothing,” she said. “I had no idea what was coming, but people seem to assume I did. You can’t just kick someone out of an activity and try to take five hundred dollars from them without first letting them know there is a problem and trying to fix it without taking such drastic steps.”

Every student in Marching Band is required to pay the band fee. It covers such things as transportation, food, and equipment. The band contract states that even if you are removed from band you are still required to pay the fee. The student’s fee has been pro-rated and reduced by $60 because of the three weeks she will miss.

Band director Mr. Andrew Brough sees things quite differently. The absence policy put in place speaks for itself. After the first two unexcused absences, as was stated before, students would be required to miss their third quarter break, half time show, and next competition. Brough admitted he did not follow those steps. He did not require the student to sit out of these events after the first unexcused absences “because I was an extremely nice person.”

Even though absence request forms weren’t turned in, the student claims she always let someone know she wasn’t going to be at rehearsal.

“I assume she told people, but she only ever told me the one time,” said Brough. When the student was removed from the band she posted about it on Facebook, and it became a very heated topic. The student was removed from band with three weeks in the season to go.

“A lot of stuff happened that made me decide to do this (at this time),” said Brough.  “Even her mom admitted to me on the phone that she was losing interest.”

This is Brough’s second year as the band director.

“I feel like I am a better teacher, and a better musician than I was last year,” said Brough. This student is still a member of the Symphonic band and Brough said “I am glad she’s there.”

A decision like the one that was made affects more than just the student in question, but everyone in the band and in her household. Decisions like that are typically very hard.

“I don’t doubt (my decision) for a second, but I do think about it,” said Brough.

This situation is surrounded by confusion, and both parties seem to agree it played a part.

“Absolutely, probably would’ve been good to just fill out the form,” said Brough. The student was never asked to sit out of third quarter, or miss a competition. “If I looked at all the decisions I was going to have to make, good or bad, I would probably never get out of bed.”

The student missed five practices in October alone, according to the band office and administration. It is this fact that made them question the student’s commitment to the band, her team.

The student is filled with many emotions on this eve before the band’s Grand National preliminary performance.

“He told me it seemed like I didn’t care, but I really did care and still do. I miss seeing all my friends everyday after school, all of the competitions on Saturdays, and just the excitement that comes with finishing a season,” she said.

This situation has been at the forefront of many band students’ minds in these closing days of the season.

“I hope everyone does well at Grand Nationals. I wish I could be there,” said the student.

The band will head to Grand Nationals on Thursday, November 13.