After receiving a complaint, the Holtville High School band won’t be allowed to perform “Amazing Grace” during the upcoming football season. In a statement to the Elmore & Autauga News, the Elmore County Board of Education said legal counsel recommended that the religious-themed song be pulled from the band’s repertoire following the complaint. “Our Constitution prohibits us from promoting religion in our educational programs and activities,” the statement read, in part. “While we understand the feelings of the parents who are unhappy about the decision, we have an obligation to comply with the law.” Superintendent Dr. Andre’ Harrison also issued this statement to the website: “When the question was raised about the band playing Amazing Grace, a song we all grew up singing, my first reaction was this is a message that should be celebrated. But, after consulting with legal counsel, I was reminded that, as a public school, we simply cannot endorse a religious message in our activities. I completely understand the frustration of some of our parents, but we have an obligation to follow the law, even when we don’t want to.” School officials didn’t say who issued the complaint, but it appeared to have come by telephone.
UPDATE: Sunday, the superintendent reversed course. Read on:
Someone had complained about the constitutionality of the band playing a religious song, but [Andre] Harrison had a change of heart after consulting a lawyer and after many parents voiced their displeasure with the song’s removal. “I asked counsel to do further research on this issue and present me with options that would keep the district in legal compliance, but permit performance of one of the most iconic songs in the history of our nation,” Harrison wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “Based on that additional research, I have decided today that the band will be allowed to perform ‘Amazing Grace’ this fall.”