The Velcro Pygmies concert cancelled at Asbury High School in Albertville

A controversy is stirring around Asbury High School in Albertville surrounding a program that has students market a rock concert.

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 4:08 PM
Updated: Oct 25, 2018 5:20 PM

UPDATE: The Board of Education waved their rule that says additions to the agenda have to be presented five days in advance to discuss the cancellation. At Thursday's meeting, one person spoke in favor, and one opposed. 

In a previous statement by Superintendent Wigley (full statement below), she mentioned that the class can look for another band to perform. The student president of the club in charge of organizing the concert said on Thursday, a new band for the program isn't an option for them. 

"They made that program themselves, so we feel like it would be rude to use another band," said Hailey Cook.

As of Thursday's meeting, the concert remains cancelled.

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A controversy is stirring around Asbury High School in Albertville surrounding a program that has students market a rock concert.

The Reach and Teach Program works with students for free to market and sell tickets to a concert with The Velcro Pygmies. The profits benefit the school.

In Marshall County, the district pulled the plug, because they say the material is too adult for the high school audience.

The lead singer of The Velcro Pygmies, Cameron Flener, said Wednesday they have still not been directly notified of their cancellation. He said the school will miss out on $5,000.

Marshall County Superintendent Cindy Wigley stopped the concert seven weeks after students started working on the project.

"Our students are not being denied the opportunity. We will redo the project and secure another band for the concert," Wigley said.

Some parents say they are still upset. One said he's taken it upon himself to call every school that has done the program to see if they had negative experiences, but he says so far he's only heard positive feedback.

"If you go and do your research, the Reach and Teach Program is awesome," Terrie Esemwein, who lives by the high school, said.

Esemwein said what matters more are not the videos online but their work through the program.

In a Facebook post that is now deleted, Superintendent Wigley encouraged anyone who questions the decision to 'Google' the band and take a look for themselves.

Wigley said, as of now, the concert is delayed while they search for another band to perform. Her full statement is below:

"This project was approved based on a presentation made at a summer conference held by the Alabama State Department of Education Career Tech Section. The project was vetted and promoted by Lisa Weeks, Alabama FBLA State Advisor, Alabama State Department of Education. The online videos associated with the band, which contain very graphic and sexually explicit material inappropriate for our students, were recently brought to my attention. Parents began calling me because their children were coming across this material online and wanting to purchase CD’s with songs I cannot even mention the title of publically due to their sexual nature. Two other systems in Alabama cancelled for reasons along the same lines. Our students are not being denied the opportunity. We will redo the project and secure another band for the concert.

In my position as an elected superintendent, I took an Oath of Office that I take very seriously. I serve as a public trust. Parents and grandparents of our school district trust that I am protecting their children when they are at school. Our schools will not be the link to material we are trying to protect our children from. I will never knowingly and willingly make a decision that hurts our students, no matter what the cost. I’m not making a decision that is good for me. I am standing strong for what is right for kids."

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