The Bryant High School Band has withdrawn from a planned appearance at a campaign rally Friday for Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill after learning it was a political event.
The band accepted an invitation to play because Vice President Mike Pence was to appear in what school officials apparently believed initially was a public event. But it is a campaign event for Hill’s re-election. State law prohibits public employees, including school employees, from participating in a political activity during office hours. A decision apparently was made today to cancel the appearance after questions were raised.
Doors open for the event at the Statehouse Convention Center at 2:30 p.m. and concludes at 4:45 p.m.
The Bryant band director, Keith Matthews, sent this explanatory note to parents:
After initially accepting an invitation to perform during Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Little Rock on Friday, September 21, we were made aware the request was for the band to play during a political campaign event.
Arkansas law and Bryant School Board policy does not allow district resources to be used to support any political candidate or party.
While we are always excited to showcase our Bryant band and were looking forward to performing for the Vice President of the United States, given the nature of the event, we will be unable to participate on Friday.