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Monroe County Schools issues statement after Sequoyah High School band season put on hold

Many parents in Monroe County said they felt it was unfair for the students' band season to be put on hold.

MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. — Sequoyah High School's band season was put on hold after there was an incident involving a man who hauled the students' band equipment parents said. 

"There was an incident that happened on Saturday," said Sam Beverley, from the Sequoyah Music Association. "It had nothing to do with any of these kids."

Additional information about that incident was not immediately available Thursday evening. Monroe County Schools said it could not comment about the incident "due to an ongoing investigation." 

Dr. Kristi Windsor, Monroe County Director of Schools, issued a statement on Friday afternoon:

"On 3/23/23, SQHS band parents and students were notified by Band Director Linda Trout that she would be placing practices and rehearsals for upcoming shows on hold temporarily, and that they would be updated with more information as soon as possible.  At no time did the Monroe County School Board or Director of Schools announce or have any plans of announcing that the band program at SQHS would be disbanded.  In fact, the Monroe County Board of Education and administration at SQHS both take great pride in the band program, and remain dedicated to ensuring the program is a part of our school system for years to come. Due to an ongoing personnel investigation, however, Monroe County Schools remains unable to make any further comment at this time."

A Monroe County Sheriff's Office detective also said a case involving a man named Kyle Rowland was under investigation after allegations involving a minor. The detective said he could provide additional information because the investigation involved a minor, but did say that he was a school band volunteer.

Parents said there were two more performances lined up in the band's season, before the final performance. Before students could take the stage for those performances, the Monroe County Board of Education said that band practices and rehearsals for upcoming shows would be put on hold.

A band student also said their band practice was canceled Thursday.

"Our practice today was canceled and we started asking, what about championships? That was canceled. And then we asked about Ohio (another scheduled performance). And he said, 'Maybe.' He doesn't know," said Addison Willson, who performs in the school band.

"She called me in tears, like, hysterically crying. I'm getting emotional — she worked so hard for this and it's not fair to take it away from them," said Heather Willson, the mother of the student in the school's band.

Beverly said that this year is the first time that Sequoyah High School has been ranked fourth in the nation, in the Winter Guard International.

"It's not fair to them. It's not fair to us. It's not fair for the parents who put their blood, sweat and tears into these kids," said Beverley. "They were about to go there and really show something, be they got stopped in their tracks."

WBIR reached out to law enforcement agencies where the incident happened. As of Thursday evening, they have not responded to requests for information.

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