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 Courtesy of WLBT/CNN Newsource

Band barred from competition over halftime skit involving police held at gunpoint

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi high school band is being barred from a state competition and some performances after a halftime skit depicting three police officers being held at gunpoint was performed in a community where two officers were shot to death last month.

Jackson school district Superintendent Errick Greene told The Associated Press on Friday evening that the Mississippi High School Activities Association notified the district at midweek of the sanctions against the marching band at one of Jackson's schools, Forest Hill High.

He said the association has prohibited the band from taking part in the yearly state competition that begins Saturday with regional evaluations. The band also is prohibited from wearing its regular uniforms or marching at football games the rest of the season, though Greene said members can play at games while sitting in the stands.

Greene said the district is considering an appeal.

"We don't believe for a moment that any focus of wrongdoing or poor judgment should be placed on the students," he said.

Association spokesman Todd Kelly wrote in an email that Jackson has five days to accept the sanctions or appeal.

Outcry against Forest Hill was swift after the Oct. 5 halftime performance at a football game at Brookhaven High School. That program ended with a skit that Greene has said was inspired by the 2002 movie John Q. In the movie, a father portrayed by Denzel Washington takes hospital staff, patients and a police officer hostage as he tries to force doctors to perform a life-saving transplant on his son.

Brookhaven officer James White and Cpl. Zach Moak were shot and killed Sept. 29 after responding to a call of shots fired. They were buried by a grieving community with public funerals. That was days before the skit was performed.

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