BEAUMONT, Texas -- Beaumont high school seems to have taken sides in the upcoming presidential election at a weekend football game and local Republican party officials are crying 'fowl.'
During Saturday's game against Little Cypress Mauriceville, Central High School's marching band presented a skit in which students were dressed as Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and the Big Bird character from the TV show Sesame Street.
In the skit, Big Bird punched Mitt Romney in the face, presumably because the candidate has said if he is elected as president he will discontinue government support of the PBS television network, leaving it to compete just like the other networks have to do. Romney says the public should not have to pay for PBS, especially when the country is experiencing tough economic times.
The performance has prompted Beaumont school administrators to call for a ban on any future skits that deal with politics.
“The whole skit was about promoting voting,” said BISD communications specialist Ron Reynolds.“The district does not promote violence."
Reynolds says it was a student-led performance.
“They could have done it without the knockout," said Reynolds. "The band director is certainly receptive to advice and also regrets the concern and the fact some people were upset by the performance. It was not at all the intention,” said Reynolds.
KFDM contacted Billy Oliver, Chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Party for comment. He released a statement saying :
"While there are very serious issues facing our nation, sideshows like the Central High band skit depicting Big Bird physically beating Mitt Romney demonstrates an appalling lack of civility, political maturity, and a gross display of institutional arrogance on the part of a taxing entity."
He goes on to say...
"BISD and Central High School owes its students, parents and taxpayers an apology."
KFDM also contacted BISD officials who released the following statement:
"Administrators with BISD will conduct a review of the appropriateness of Central High School band's half time performance at Saturday's football game that featured political satire."
The district spokesman says BISD views what happened as a learning experience.
“We are concerned about the concerns of our citizens here, and we're encouraging all band directors to just look a little more closely at what the student performances are,” said Reynolds.
A performance that, in this case has an impact far beyond the football field.
The Central High school Band Director told the district the students were not trying to endorse any candidate.
The BISD school board is scheduled to discuss the skit during their Thursday night board meeting.