Director of Mississippi High School Band Suspended for Scene Showing Students Pointing Toy Guns at Police

The director of a high school band that caused outrage in Mississippi by depicting a hostage scene involving toy guns during a halftime performance has been suspended.

The Forest Hill High School band was performing during halftime of a football game against Brookhaven High School in Jackson, Mississippi, last Friday. Images of the scene went viral online with students dressed as medical staff being seen pointing guns at police officers.

The band's show, which took place at Brookhaven High School, was an interpretation of a scene from the movie "John Q." But it came less than a week after two Brookhaven police officers—Zach Moak and James White—died in the line of suty by gunshot, Daily Leader reported.

Jackson's mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, said Saturday that the director of the Forest Hill band had been suspended. The announcement came the same day as Mississippi governor Phil Bryant tweeted: "This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable."

Forest Hill High School is part of the Jackson Public Schools District. Local officials have been quick to denounce the images which had been shared thousands of times across Facebook.

Jackson Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Errick L. Greene, said he offered his "deep and sincere apologies for the performance" by Forest Hill at the football game last Friday.

"JPS has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners," Greene said. "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."

Mayor Lumumba also released a statement, reported the Jackson Free Press.

"I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity that (was) portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show," the mayor said.

"There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance. 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."

On social media, the Brookhaven School District also stressed it supported law enforcement.

It said: "The halftime show performed by the visiting band during [the] game was an unfortunate issue that our district had no prior knowledge of and does not condone. Our main focus remains, as always, on the safety of our students and the student-athletes performing on our fields.

"We appreciate our community's support as we continue working to ensure a positive environment of sportsmanship for our student-athletes and those visiting Brookhaven," the statement added.

Director of Mississippi High School Band Suspended for Scene Showing Students Pointing Toy Guns at Police | U.S.