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BOTD 6/11/13 "Facing The Music" A Jkher Production

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David M. Katz

A Jkher Production

You are the principal of a local private middle school. Three eighth grade members of the school band, John Anderson, George Bates, and Paul Curtis, have formed a trio jazz band. John plays guitar, George is lead vocals and Paul plays saxophone. Last night was the annual band and choral concert at the school. The jazz trio played two pieces between set changes.

Any music performed at school events or concerts must be from an approved list. The trio selected two pieces from the approved list and had practiced the same. The concert program indicated the pre-approved selections. The trio had privately practiced another piece. John, George and Paul performed the first number as planned. For the second number the boys strayed from the program and played a very risque and unapproved number. The trio did a great job and their fellow students were cheering.

John, George, and Paul - All 14 (8th Grade)
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Most parents who attended the concert and the school's Board of Trustees were less than pleased. Several parents have already complained to the school about the music and the Chair of the Board of Trustees has already called this morning demanding that the issue be addressed.

You could choose to ignore the matter or issue a punishment. You have broad discretion as far as possible punishments including up to four licks with a paddle or out of school suspension for up to five days.

How do you address the issue?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


How risque is risque?

I was taken to see the original Broadway version of Cabaret at 14. My parents' friends were aghast. I didn't understand the "risque" parts and just saw it as a nice love story.

Unless "risque" crosses the line to outright obscene, I'm inclined to ignore this activity. Attempts at censorship are, IMO, just plain wrong. And in this case, they'd be counterproductive as well, making the punished boys into "martyrs".

John Boy

I will sit down with the boys and point out the "seriousness" of this issue. I would ask if they know the rules for preforming songs. I will ask if they want to keep playing, and then I will ask if three licks can fix this with the warning that next time I won't be so "lenient"


This sounds like an opportunity for me to get some very bad press. I will dodge the bullet by doing nothing.



Define "risqué". It really does depend upon sensibilities now, doesn't it? In today's public atmosphere, things I wouldn't have even taken notice of now are almost outlawed. Other things I'd have been scandalized by are seen as quite the norm. Once we have defined the actual content, then I can proceed.

If it was indeed truly something the boys should not have played to the audience, then some consequence is in order for the breach of the rules and for bringing the school into disrepute. I'd give them a choice; 2 with the paddle or 1 day ISS. I'd remind them that I'm only going this lightly because I do NOT want a problem with parents on either side of the equation and if there's a repeat they can forget about participation in the future no matter how talented they happen to be!


I see this as a form of lying. The boys agreed to preform one set of songs, and performed another. If the change had occurred for a reasonable reason (Ie, an instrument broke and a substitution had to be made, or the set changes were taking longer than expected and they needed to fill time), I wouldn't be as upset. But they switched songs to gain points with their peers and upset the old fogies. This was pre planned disobedience. Assuming that the song was a cover of something that plays on the radio, there will be three licks each and a warning that they are going to have to prove to me that this won't happen again before they are allowed to perform again. If the song was far enough out there that it couldn't be played on the radio, then a three day out of school suspension is in order with a ban from further performances.

Stone Man

mahoover wrote: Assuming that the song was a cover of something that plays on the radio, there will be three licks each and a warning that they are going to have to prove to me that this won't happen again before they are allowed to perform again. If the song was far enough out there that it couldn't be played on the radio, then a three day out of school suspension is in order with a ban from further performances.

I like that questions that would have been asked and the reasoning for asking them.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm not in favor of censorship, but the boys, in effect, violated the terms of their contract with the school. Now I'm having to field complaints from parents. I think I must impose some punishment, subject to the trio's not giving me some very convincing reason for the substitution. Rather than making heroes of them by giving them swats, I'm giving them a detention, during which they will write an essay on the importance of honoring agreements.

I wonder if Ringo will be joining John, Paul and George soon.



So was it the lyrics that offended. Its a shame there was an approved list rather than a allowing the boys to check out a song with you beforehand. i would have thought some parents might even have enjoyed something Risque`. Well it appears not. Given this is as strait-laced as it seems these boys will be getting 3 each with the paddle as it is a defiant act knowing it would cause embarrassment to the school and doing it anyway. John, Paul and George will be heroes to their peers for a little longer. Next timer it might be the last school gig this trio perform.


No Risque - no Fun

if the performance was great nothing would happen to the young artists.
I think the school rules need very quickly a review.
If every young musician had those rules, the world had no Beatles no Stones and a lot of other great music.

LilMoritz (i am a non-professional musician)


It was a pre-planned and deliberate breach of what was in effect 'school rules'. There thus have to be 'consequences'. Something in two three time seems appropriate Smile


Risque ...... slightly indecent and liable to shock, especially by being sexually suggestive: (OED)

With all the thousands of songs out there I can't get my head round the idea an "approved list" unless this school is a very old fashioned straight laced prescriptive establishment.

With this assumption I would expect many of the fee paying parents sending their children there would be outraged rather than "less than pleased."

The school's income needs to be protected and these boys will max out with the paddle and the suspension and will be barred from ever playing in a school concert again.

(Also as one of those types of parents my boy would not be sitting down for a week.)


There's no way the wouldn't have known there will be consequences. They simply can't get away with such a blatant violation of school rules or it would be a bad example for every student. Therefore, no matter how good the performance was artistically, their butts will get busted.

Pi Beta

I will give them a choice. Having recorded each and every complaint I've fielded, each of them can write - best handwriting, not word processed - an individual letter of apology to every complainant that I will then vet OR they can opt for a serious paddling of the maximum I'm allowed to give. They must all agree on the same punishment.

It was clearly premeditated, therefore there is no way I'm not going to punish them.

Last edited by Pi Beta on Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)


I like the idea of the boys writing notes of apologies to those who've complained. I think I'll give them a detention to handle that, and we'll start the detention with a standard number of swats (three?), to help them remember.

Honestly, I'll also give them a talk about appreciating their... initiative, but that they need to learn when to pull stunts like this ---- and when not to cross someone.


Depends on what the "a very risque and unapproved number" was. If it's, say, "Mein Liebe Here" from Cabaret I might query them about what they thought was so daring. If it's "I Wanna Eat Your Liver" I might be more inquisitive. But in any event, if it's theater, it's supposed to be something that won't have the audience snoring.

They did violate their terms of entertainment, but that's not a matter for punishment but (maybe) bad reviews.

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