Students, Alumni fight to keep band director after Facebook post

By: Lorena Estrada Email
By: Lorena Estrada Email

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Students, alumni and friends came together Tuesday night to fight for Jefferson County High School's band director who they say is being forced out after a facebook comment.

They said he's impacted the lives of many.

"He's the only teacher here I'd protest for," said Amberlee Solomon, a band member and senior at Jefferson County High.

"I graduated in 1992, and I was in the band all four years," said Marshall Callin. "I owe the person I am today to the band because I had somewhere to go and I knew I was a part of. I owe that to the band. I owe that to Mr. Rodgers.

They group held signs, some of them saying "Keep Pete" and "Music Matters." Glenn Rodgers, who goes by Pete, has been the band director at Jefferson County High School for more than 20 years, but his job may now be on the line after some say he left an "inappropriate" comment on a student's Facebook page regarding another female teacher.

"It's his personal life. He should be able to say what he wants," said Shelby Jasper, a band member and senior at the high school.

"I think it's crazy. I don't think he should lose his job over this. I can't see the band without him," said Tiffany Huff, a band member and junior at the school.

Students said the band just wouldn't be the same without him. Some of them told Volunteer TV that if he was forced to leave, they will quit.

"I've already talked to the entire drumline," Jasper said. "The entire band said that if he quites the rest of the band will go with him."

The band received sweepstakes placing number one at the South Doyle Competition earlier in the school year. And many said they owe it to Mr. Rodgers.

"Without him we wouldn't have gotten that," Jasper said.

Through petitions and making their voices heard, the group hopes they'll be able to "Keep Pete" at Jefferson County High for many more years to come.

"We're all hoping we can get through to some people and make an impact as big as the impact that he's made in our lives," Solomon said.

"I hope the school board listens to reason and decides he's a vital aspect to the band," Jasper said.

Volunteer TV contacted the Director of Jefferson County Schools but he was unavailable to comment.

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  • by sydney Location: dandridge on Apr 17, 2011 at 09:44 PM
    he deserves it. hes not a good person to have around children. i know i wouldnt want my children around a man like that.
  • by Emily Location: Tn on Apr 9, 2011 at 01:04 PM
    I am a student at JCHS and I am in the Band anf honestly thus whole thing was so stupid. It was one of those comments that you read and get over. Pete is legit and I'm proud to be one of his students.
  • by C Location: Knoxville on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:57 PM
    Glenn "Pete" Rogers is a fantastic band director, and his students respect him. I don't think that many of these school board members understand the wonderful teacher they would be losing if they let go of Pete. I never was a student under him, but I watched him teach and he gave me my first band camp instructor job which I was very thankful for. Watching him teach was a great thing, and watching the way the students reacted with him was even more amazing. It is the way that all classrooms should be. Yes, he might have made a comment on a Facebook wall, but I have heard of teachers who have done worse and get away with it. Everyone makes mistakes. We are human, but don't let go of such a wonderful asset such as Pete Rogers.
  • by Leedo Location: East TN on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:36 PM
    Kids, PLEASE don't quit. This is just another example of an East Tennessee county suddenly doing away with an established music teacher or program. Look at what has happened in some counties surrounding Jefferson, and you'll begin to get the picture. Leaving the band with no members will give an excuse to cut the program completely . . . which HAS happened in east TN, and is almost certainly what some people WANT. You think a math teacher would get fired for posting something silly on Facebook? Get real.
  • by Timbo Location: Blaine on Mar 30, 2011 at 03:54 PM
    Personally I don't think that someone should lose their job over something they may or may not have posted on Facebook unless it was a death/personal injury threat or something of that nature. Everyone has an opinion of others,(although some opinions need to be kept to yourself) but I think that mere opinions are by no means grounds for dismissal from a job if it doesn't affect job performance. I also think that it is wrong for potential employers to "check-up" on potential employees via looking them up on social websites such as Facebook and baseing their decisions on what they read on an individuals' FB homepage about them. To me, that is discrimination. I personally don't take part in any of these social websites because I think that if you have anything personal to say to someone, it should be done via telephone or email directly to that person, not for the world to see!
  • by Lon Location: Seymour on Mar 30, 2011 at 01:11 PM
    School systems do not back down on these decisions. Even if wrong, it sends a message they don't want to send if they concede to the community. I really hope that the band director can get an attorney through a teacher's union, etc. There are already a few precedents concerning employers exploiting social networking activities to end employment. People who are fired due to these comment, pictures, etc are beginning to win back wages, damages, etc. Some involve teachers. I really think boundaries are being overstepped. Indeed, what if someone else had been using this man's FB to post messages? Not saying they did, but many people hijack others' identities as practical jokes and it can't even really be proven beyond a doubt that this man posted this. Local governments, school boards, etc need to back off and examine the constitutionality of their actions. It's my opinion that many of these actions are more about getting a teacher off the payrolls and hiring someone cheaper.
  • by joe Location: sevierville on Mar 30, 2011 at 12:23 AM
    WHEN are people going to LEARN---KEEP your comments to yourself, and don't write on "public walls" if you don't want the public to see, and if you want others to see your comment/opinion you get what you deserve
  • by Scott Location: Strawberry Plains on Mar 29, 2011 at 11:14 PM
    This situation is almost laughable. Pete was smoking hand-rolled when he was the Assistant Band Director @ JCHS way back in my days there. He was promoted to the top my senior year. When I moved back to the area recently, I was really surprised he managed to keep the job for 20 years.


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