Lyrics ban has fans, parents buzzing

Jun. 06, 2013 @ 05:01 PM

A district-wide policy banning music with lyrics at sporting events that was implemented last year has come under fire from parents, athletes and dance team members. 

The ban was a response to complaints about offensive music being played at games. 

Parent Karen Shelton started a petition on the website The petition had more than 600 online signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Shelton spoke to the school board Tuesday night. 

“The ban on lyrics takes away our student’s voices,” Shelton said. 

She said the current rule punishes all students and asked that the school board come up with an alternate plan. She noted that no plan will be perfect and kids will often test boundaries. 

Shelton said the policy was “one size fits all” and not “my size fits me,” borrowing a phrase from Superintendent Mary Ellis.

“Restore lyrics and some common sense,” Shelton said. 

Amanda Baker, who dances on her school’s dance team, said some dancers have left the team since the ban was put in place, saying it was not the same. 

“Words cannot describe what they’ve gone through,” she said. She told the school board that her team and coach “cried” when they were told they could no longer use music with lyrics. 

“I need my team back, I need my dancers back and most of all, I need my lyrics back,” Baker told the school board. 

Chairman Richard Yercheck said the school board decided the decision would be left to staff and not taken up by the policy committee. 

Steve Bradle, who has a child in the school system and works as a DJ, said that it is possible to create a family-friendly environment and still use music with lyrics. 

“I know that it’s possible,” he said. 

Leah Shelton, who is on the dance team at Marvin Ridge Middle School and will be on the high school team, said that without the lyrics, the music becomes “unrecognizable and boring.”

She likened taking the lyrics from a dance team to telling a football team they cannot tackle, saying that they could still perform, it would just be more difficult. 

Spokesperson Rob Jackson said Ellis is planning to revisit the policy in July when she meets with the high school principals to discuss it.