Letter: Unfair to single out Kennewick High for misbehavior at band retreat

December 2, 2013 

It was inequitable for Kennewick marching band students to be singled out in Ty Beaver's article, "Complaints filed about retreat hazing." I have participated in the Richland High School marching band for the past four years and it is well-known that people high-five, butt slap or touch instruments during band retreats. I do not condone this behavior and neither would I expect the directors of St. Helen or Kennewick high schools to either.

I would like to point out, however, the misleading perception that Tri-City citizens now have about retreat, and Kennewick students specifically. Their actions are not new. It is something that all the bands I know are aware of. It is not sexual harassment, bullying or intentional hazing. It is good that the St. Helens Band Patrons Parent Organization sent a letter to the festival organizers as well as the Kennewick School District because the problem lies in the mindset of the retreat, not the individual offenders.

If specific Kennewick students are to be disciplined for their actions, what about the other students in bands around the state for the past five years? I might add, what about football coaches who slap their students on the butt before or after a play? When did a butt slap become sexual harassment for band and not football?


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