High school band director Charles Grissom has repeatedly apologized for an act of poor judgment on his part. Yet, he should be fired as it was clearly more than just a matter of “poor judgment.”
Grissom is the director for the Paris High School marching band, the “Blue Blazes,” in Dallas, which performed at the halftime show for a football game Friday. The game also coincided with the weekend that the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah commenced. This made the theme to the show, “Visions of World War II,” in which the flags and national anthems of Britain, France, Japan, the United States and Nazi Germany were presented, even more unfitting was the waving of the Nazi flag.
For a high school band director to choose to display the fascist regime in the setting of a football game alone is pretty absurd, but the fact that it was taking place on the religious holiday for a group that was oppressed and persecuted most is blatantly inappropriate.
One band member traversed the football field carrying the Nazi flag while the Third Reich’s anthem, “Deutschland Ãber Alles,” was played, which translates into “Germany over everything in the world.”
According to the Associated Press, there was an announcement prior to the start of the show that explained the band was trying to do a “historical, accurate depiction of the event.” Nevertheless, the crowd was so disturbed by the performance that they threw things at the band and booed them off the field.
Regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, Mark Briskman, told AP that his organization received a flood of phone calls in response to the shock-value and insensitivity of the performance.
Grissom said to The Dallas Morning News, “We had an error in judgment … our intent was never to cause anyone harm.” That may be the understatement of the year when considering that the band has been working on the piece since the beginning of August with the intention of performing it at the University Interscholastic League contest Oct. 15. Didn’t it occur to anybody in the months that it took to plan the event that it might be a bad idea?
In the future, Grissom should look at not only what his performances are symbolizing, but if the content is controversial enough to offend people.
That is, if he still has a job.