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Lassiter tops Allatoona, Harrison

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Lassiter pulled off a successful squeeze play in the eighth inning, giving it a 6-5 win at Allatoona and capping off a perfect Saturday.

The Lady Trojans were coming off a 4-0 shutout of Harrison.

The Allatoona game was deadlocked at 5-all entering the eighth, when Lassiter’s Abby Ferrier was placed on second base. She moved to third on a grounder before scoring as she ran on contact from Emily Syvarth’s well-placed bunt.

Kelly Sinclair and Catherine Pizza each went 2-for-4, with Pizza contributing a pair of RBIs. Jesse Beasenburg also had two RBIs.

Brianna Michaud pitched 6 2/3 innings of effective relief, striking out 10.

Sydney Kayler and Piper Wagner combined for the shutout of Harrison, fueled by Sinclair’s two RBIs and two hits apiece for Syvarth and Maggie Aarons.

Lassiter (3-0) will continue non-region play Tuesday, hosting Brookwood.

(Excerpted from the Marietta Daily Journal, August 16, 2014. Read the original MDJ article HERE.) 

Talent-filled field expected for Lassiter 7-on-7 qualifier

Back in action after escaping elbow surgery following an injury during baseball season, North Cobb quarterback Tyler Queen will be behind the line this weekend for a National Select 7-on-7 qualifier at Lassiter. Queen’s Warrior team is one of 32 in the tournament, which includes seven from Cobb County. Staff file photo by Jeff Stanton

 

While success in typical 7-on-7 tournaments is not necessarily an indication of how good or bad a season a football team may have, doing well in the National Select 7-on-7 may show a team is pointed in the right direction.

“All I know is we’ve always done really well,” said Lassiter coach Jep Irwin, who will have a team competing in the competition for the ninth straight year — the first seven at Pelham (Ala.) and the last two with the Trojans. “The competitiveness of the field is where you get better. With this field, every mistake is magnified. It’s intense. I do think (success in this tournament) can translate to the season.”

As competitive as the Lassiter-hosted qualifier has been in the past, this year’s field of 32 teams may be the strongest yet. Valdosta, Lovejoy, Grayson, Alpharetta, North Paulding and national power Hoover (Ala.) are just a few of the teams coming from outside the county to compete.

Joining Lassiter among Cobb County programs are Hillgrove, Kell, North Cobb, South Cobb, Walton and Whitefield Academy.

The winner of the two-day tournament will earn a spot in the national tournament next week in Hoover, Ala.

“Last year’s field was pretty strong,” Irwin said, “but I really think this may be the strongest we’ve ever had. This year, only Valdosta is fielding a ‘B’ team, and they are going to be pretty good. Last year, we had 28 teams, with four ‘B’ teams, so this is an improved field, even with the loss of North Gwinnett. Grayson took their spot, and we had to turn some good teams away.”

Some of the premier players expected to be in the event include: Hoover running back Bradrick Shaw (committed to Auburn) and linebacker Darrell Williams, Lovejoy receiver Preston Williams (Tennessee), Shiloh receiver Cameron Stewart (Central Florida), Valdosta linebacker Brian Bell (Florida State) Jefferson quarterback Evan Shirreffs and North Cobb quarterback Tyler Queen (Auburn).

A 7-on-7 tournament matches the offensive skill position players against a defense’s linebacking corps and secondary. Play starts at the 40-yard line going in, and once the quarterback has the ball, he has 4 seconds to get off a throw. Touchdowns are worth six points, with an extra point earned by completing a 10-yard pass into the end zone.

For the defense, interceptions are worth three points, and one returned for a touchdown is worth six. A play ends when the ball hits the ground, or when a defender pulls an offensive player’s flag. Tackling is not allowed.

The tournament will run today and Saturday. Today’s pool play will be split into morning and afternoon waves. After the completion of pool play, teams will be ranked from 1 through 32 and placed in the tournament bracket.

Double-elimination tournament play will start Saturday at 9 a.m., and a championship game is scheduled for around 4 p.m.

Games will be streamed live at www.select7on7.com, by selecting the “NFHS Network Broadcasts” link and then finding the Georgia qualifier.

Updates on scores and bracket play will be available via a mobile app, by visiting the Select 7-on-7 website and selecting the Georgia qualifier.

 

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by John Bednarowski, July 11, 2014. Click HERE to read the original article.) 

Memorial service for Philip Lutzenkirchen set for Wednesday at Lassiter; funeral Thursday

A memorial service honoring Philip Lutzenkirchen will be held Wednesday at the former Auburn tight end’s old stomping grounds.

A memorial service at Lassiter High School in East Cobb has been scheduled for 8 pm ET on Wednesday. The service will be held at the high school’s football stadium, Frank Fillmann Stadium.

Lutzenkirchen died in a single-vehicle accident early Sunday outside LaGrange, Georgia.

A public visitation and funeral Mass will begin Thursday at 10:30 a.m. inside Transfiguration Catholic Church on Blackwell Road. The funeral Mass will follow at 1 pm.

The Marietta, Georgia native caught 14 career touchdown passes, the most by a tight end in Auburn history, from 2009 through 2012. His career ended with a hip injury midway through the 2012 season.

He caught the game-clinching touchdown catch from Cam Newton early in the fourth quarter of the 2010 Iron Bowl to propel the Tigers to the SEC Championship and eventually the national title.

Lutzenkirchen was remembered with an impromptu rolling at Toomer’s Corner on Sunday afternoon. Friends and fans gathered to remember the Auburn great.

(Source: AL.com

 

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Lassiter Class of 2014: Where are they headed?

academic scholar graduate

Thanks to Lassiter HS Principal, Dr. Chris Richie, Assistant Principal Dr. Angela Bare, and Staff, the following is a list of institutions many of the students will be attending.

Colleges/Universities/Professional Schools

Georgia – 302
Agnes Scott – 1
Atlanta Institute of Music – 1
Berry College – 3
*Chattahoochee Tech – 8
Columbus State – 3
GA College & State Univ. – 23
*GA Highlands – 4
GA Institute of Technology – 20
*GA Perimeter – 8
GA Southern – 28
GA State – 9
Kennesaw – 91
Mercer – 2
Morehouse – 1
Oxford – 2
Piedmont College – 1
Reinhardt – 3
Savannah College of Art & Design – 2
Southern Polytechnic State – 12
UGA – 62
Univ. of North GA – 9
Univ. of West GA – 2
Valdosta – 6
Young Harris – 1

Alabama – 34
Alabama A & M – 1
Auburn – 9
Samford – 2
*Southern Union – 1
Spring Hill College – 1
Troy University – 1
Univ. of Alabama – 19

Connecticut – 1
Wesleyan – 1

Florida – 15
Eckerd College – 1
Florida Atlantic – 1
Florida State – 7
Full Sail University – 1
*Tallahassee Community – 1
University of Florida – 1
University of Miami – 1
University of South Florida – 1
University of West Florida – 1

Illinois – 1
University of Chicago – 1

Indiana – 2
Ball State University – 1
St. Mary’s College – 1

Kentucky – 3
University of Kentucky – 2
Western Kentucky – 1

Maryland – 2
Mount St. Mary’s – 1
University of Maryland – 1

Massachusetts – 4
Boston College – 1
Emerson College – 1
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy – 1
St. Johns University – 1

Michigan – 1
Grand Valley State – 1

Minnesota – 2
*Century College – 1
Southwest Minnesota – 1

Mississippi – 16
Mississippi State – 8
Univ. of Mississippi – 8

New York – 3
Hofstra University – 1
LIM College – 1
New York University – 1

North Carolina – 10
Appalachian State University – 1
Brevard College – 1
*Coastal Carolina – 1
Davidson – 1
Gardner Webb University – 1
Guilford College – 2
North Carolina A&T – 1
University of NC at Charlotte – 1
Western Carolina Univ. – 1

Ohio – 5
Case Western – 1
Miami of Ohio – 1
Ohio State – 1
Ohio University – 2

Pennsylvania – 1
Pennsylvania State – 1

South Carolina – 12
Clemson – 3
Lander University – 1
University of South Carolina – 8

Tennessee – 4
Austin Peay State Univ. – 1
Rhodes – 1
Vanderbilt – 2

Texas – 2
San Jacinto College – 1
University of Texas – 1

Utah – 1
Brigham Young University – 1

Virginia – 2
Richmond University – 1
University of Virginia – 1

West Virginia – 3
University of Charleston – 2
West Virginia University – 1

Japan – 1
Temple University (Tokyo) – 1

Military – 3

NCAA- 22

* 2 year Colleges

Data for Lassiter Class of 2014

Students went to 88 different Colleges and Universities
Eligible for Hope: 312/501=62%
Ineligible for Hope: 189/501=38%
Potential Zell Miller eligible 119/501=24%
74% Graduated with a 3.0 and above
51% Graduated with a 3.5 and above
1341 (out of 1600) is the average SAT score for the top 10% of the class
30 is the average ACT score for the top 10% of the class
80% attending a 4 year college
5% attending a 2 year college
4% playing a sport in college
1 student attending college in Japan
60% staying in State
12% to UGA (GPA from 3.5 to 4.0)
18% to Kennesaw (GPA from 2.4 to 3.9)
4% to GA Tech (GPA from 3.4 to 4.0)
5% to GCSU (GPA from 2.9 to 3.8)
6% to GA Southern (GPA from 2.3 to 3.8)
4% to University of Alabama (GPA from 2.4 to 3.8)

Scholarship Information:
Lassiter High School’s Graduating class accumulated a total of $14,531,400.00 in Scholarship funds.

(Source: David Banks)

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Injured Lassiter Grad Returns to the “Frank”

(WXIA) A Georgia teenager fighting to recover from a car accident two years ago showed, Friday night, how far he’s come.

In football… in life… small steps forward, and courage, can take you to victory.

Friday night at The Frank, at Lassiter High School’s Spring “Cardinal and Gold” scrimmage, Chris Heitzman, class of 2012, came back home to show the team how to win.

It was in July 2012, right after graduation from Lassiter, when this football and baseball athlete who’d earned a college scholarship was a passenger in a car that collided with another.

(Reprinted from wwlp.com. Read More; http://on.11alive.com/1ggkUGg) 

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Sidewalks all they’re cracked up to be?

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An ongoing effort to add sidewalks near local schools continued this week as the Cobb County Board of Commissioners gave the go-ahead for new paths leading to Lassiter High School, Rocky Mount Elementary School and Riverside Intermediate School.

One new sidewalk, running 0.4 miles on Pete Shaw Road in northeast Cobb, will serve both Lassiter and Rocky Mount. The other is a tenth of a mile stretch on South Gordon Road in south Cobb, which leads to Riverside. Both projects were approved unanimously by the board. 

“These sidewalks are part of our Safe Routes to School program,” said Jim Wilgus, deputy director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation. “Within a certain distance from a school zone these are to help students be able to walk to school.”

The Pete Shaw Road sidewalk contract was awarded to Glosson Enterprises, the low bidder at a cost of $347,632.19. Glosson will also install the South Gordon Road sidewalks, beating out six other bidders with a price of $123,316.31. 

The projects are being paid for with a 1 percent sales tax voters approved in 2011. The Cobb DOT has a priority system for new sidewalks. Sidewalks near schools come first, sidewalks that fill gaps between existing paths are second and third are regular, requested sidewalks. 

Wilgus estimated the two newest sidewalk paths will break ground in the next two or three weeks. The Pete Shaw Road sidewalk should take 180 days to build, while South Gordon should take 120 days. 

Cobb District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who represents northeast Cobb including Pete Shaw Road, said sidewalks provide a big benefit to the county.

“Schools are a priority because this makes it safer for the kids,” she said. “We’re also getting ready to start a project at Addison Elementary on Ebenezer Road, which is in my district.”

A needed improvement?

But not everyone agrees the sidewalks are worthwhile. Earl Smith, a former county commission chairman and namesake of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, is an outspoken critic of the sidewalks, calling them a waste of taxpayer dollars. 

He says the original purpose of the special purpose local option sales tax was to build roads and get people through the county. 

“You can see how far away this is from what the initial intent was,” he said. “Look at the sidewalks that have been built, the fabulous bicycle trails throughout the county. Look and see how many people are riding them. Then we have to maintain them. Where are the people that are using these? They’re not using them. By and large they are not being used and we keep adding to them. Every year we stack them on because we’re trying to get the vote where we promised a sidewalk.”

But Birrell says the sidewalks get plenty of use. She walks the routes herself on Safe Routes to School Day. 

“There is no sidewalk on the same side of the street as Addison for a few blocks down from the school,” she said. “When I’d walk with the kids, it’s like you’re walking in a ditch. It’s just not conducive or safe for those kids to walk to school from neighboring subdivisions without sidewalks.”

The commissioners meet with the Cobb DOT each year to look at where to install new sidewalks. 

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Haisten Willis, April 27, 2014. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Sidewalks all they re cracked up to be)

 

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Lassiter Food Bank seeks donations for Spring Break giving

hot dogs

Photo Credit: wtfrly.com

The Lassiter Food Pantry is in need of help so that they can provide assistance to local families heading into spring break. Cold food items are greatly appreciated. Items of critical need include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Burgers (of any kind)
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Ham, turkey, roast beef sandwich meats
  • Eggs
  • Dinner meats

Please drop off your donations in the front office of Lassiter High School, 2601 Shallowford Road, Marietta 30066, by Thursday, March 27th, in order to have food items distributed before Spring Break.

If you need other arrangements for collecting your donated items, please email melonie.mccallum@cobbk12.org, fatima.coffey@cobbk12.org, autumn.curry@cobbk12.org or jacqueline.fross@cobbk12.org.

 

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Police: Lassiter student charged with drug possession at school

A student at Lassiter High School faces a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge and a felony methadone possession charge.

Michael Ballard, 17, was arrested after Lassiter Assistant Principal Ashlynn Campbell reportedly found “a very small amount” of marijuana and “several tablets” of methylone in Ballard’s 2001 Nissan Pathfinder parked at the high school, according to an arrest warrant.

Ballard has been released from jail on a $5,000 bond.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Nikki Wiley, January 19, 2014. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Police Lassiter student charged with drug posession at school)

Parents show support for beleaguered Lassiter High School band leader

The attorney for the Cobb Board of Education refused to let a group of Lassiter High School parents address the board Wednesday with complaints about the school’s new band director.

Meanwhile, the band director, Ginny Markham, has hired an attorney to defend herself against a dissident group of parents who have publicly criticized her job performance and the process under which she was hired.

A group of about 20 parents and their students from Lassiter High’s band program were prevented from speaking at a school board meeting Wednesday, because their comments related to a specific teacher.

The parents and students showed up to discuss their outspoken concerns with Markham, who took over the position this year from a beloved 30-year band leader, Alfred Watkins.

A number of other parents have now risen up in defense of Markham. They did not attempt to speak with board members Wednesday, they said, because they are satisfied with the top achieving ensemble’s success in Markham’s hands.

Board policy and legalities

Board attorney Clem Doyle said he skipped over the group of 14 people signed up to speak during public comments because they had indicated they would be speaking about a specific employee.

“It’s against board policies to discuss personnel matters during public comment,” Doyle said.

After public comment had ended, Board Chairman Randy Scamihorn invited the Lassiter Band group to the front of the room to speak privately with individual board members.

“I’m frustrated that we can’t speak in public about our concerns,” said Roger Toland, the father of a sophomore clarinet player at Lassiter.

Some parents said they felt stuck. After not getting what they wanted from the school principal, Chris Richie, they were upset the board didn’t seem eager to make any changes at the school.

“Where do we go now?” asked Trish Boone, a parent of a senior trumpet player.

Board member Kathleen Angelucci listened as a group of students, parents and alumni shared their complaints.

Angelucci said she encouraged the students in the band to become leaders within their sections, and to spend their energies teaching each other and search for a compromise.

Not all parents feel the same

After an article ran in the MDJ that reflected the concerns of the 20 parents, other Lassiter parents spoke up and said they were quite happy with the band program under Markham’s leadership.

Tom Estella, the father of a sophomore mellophone player, said Watkins left large shoes to fill, and wishes all the parents and students would do more to support Markham.

“She really hasn’t had an opportunity to succeed or fail, she’s only been there one year,” he said.

The few parents and students who are complaining do not fully represent the thoughts of the rest of the band program, Estella stressed, and said their complaints were creating a toxic environment for the band community.

Parents in the band’s booster association are supposed to assist the band’s director, Estella said, and he doesn’t believe they are doing so.

Markham’s lawyer says she is more than qualified

Markham was an excellent choice to fill the vacant band director role, said Marietta-based attorney Robert Ingram, who is now representing Markham.

Markham reached out to her lawyer a few weeks ago for advice on how to respond to a handful of disgruntled parents who were making “unwarranted and defamatory attacks” against her, Ingram said.

Following Watkins in his role was an extremely hard thing to do, and the first-place trophy from the October Bands of America Regional Competition in Towson, Md., should prove Markham is doing a good job, Ingram said.

He believed there would be naysayers no matter who took over the direction of the band.

“It would be impossible for Principal Chris Richie to select a band director to follow Alfred Watkins who would satisfy all the parents of 300 students,” he added.

Richie made the decision to hire Markham without the help or input of Markham’s husband, Gary Markham, who retired last spring, Ingram said. Claims by the few parents who said otherwise were unwarranted and false, he added.

“Fortunately, decisions on hiring and firing of band directors is not left to the collective mob-mentality of a few parents. If it was left to parents, schools would be in absolute chaos,” Ingram said.

He has faith in the future of the Lassiter Band, and in Markham’s capabilities.

Ingram provided this statement in an email:

“The bottom line is that Ms. Markham loves all 300 students that are a part of the Lassiter Band, she is well credentialed, and she plans to continue leading the band in a tradition of excellence by winning championships as they did under her leadership this past October. Ms. Markham is optimistic about the future for the Lassiter Band programs and encourages the parents to rally together as a team to continue the Lassiter Band’s tradition of excellence.”

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Hannah Morgan, December 12, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Parents show support for beleaguered Lassiter High School band leader)

New band director at Lassiter spurs ire from parents, pupils

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Lassiter band member Sarah Gwaltney plays the marimba during a halftime show in September. Staff/Jeff Stanton

Parents and students involved in the nationally recognized band program at Lassiter High School are upset with their new band director and say the district hasn’t been responsive to their complaints.

Parents claim they were kept in the dark during the hiring process of the school’s new band director, Ginny Markham, and students complain their new director is unwilling to work with them to address their concerns.

A group of about 20 Lassiter band parents met Monday night at a home near the high school, northeast of Marietta, to discuss their options for moving forward with their complaints.

“She’s a bad teacher,” said parent Bruce Bonsall.

Parents huddled around a dining room table ate bowls of chili and swapped horror stories of their children’s recent band experiences.

Complaints to the principal and central office employees had gone nowhere, and parents felt stuck.

Now, they are planning on making an appearance at the Board of Education meeting today, after meeting Monday to work out what they were going to tell the board.

What they’re upset about

Parents said Markham just didn’t have enough experience to take on such a prestigious ensemble.

The Lassiter band recently won first place at the Bands of America Regional Championship in October at a competition in Towson, Md., a victory parents say does not reflect their faith in the band’s director.

They have been petitioning the school principal, Chris Richie, who hired Markham in late spring 2013, for an explanation as to her hiring, to no avail.

“He hired her and absolutely doesn’t want to hear it,” said Bruce Boone, parent of a senior trumpet player.

He and his wife, Trish, said the integrity of the band was at stake, and they were worried about its future.

“This is the Lassiter band. This is the best band in the entire Southeast. Somebody needs to help us,” he said.

A proud tradition at Lassiter

Former Director of Bands Alfred Watkins took over Lassiter’s music program in 1982, building it into a nationally recognized program before he retired last spring, much to the dismay of the school’s band community.

They remember Watkins as an emblematic leader of the band program, a teacher both in the classroom and on the marching band field. The band community had high expectations for his successor, as the Lassiter band has twice won the national band championship at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 1998 and 2002.

When Watkins announced his retirement, band parents, booster club members and students involved in the roughly 300-person ensemble said they wanted to pitch in to help find the perfect replacement, but their attempts to provide input were ignored by the district.

“Dr. Hinojosa is not meeting our needs,” said Donnell Willequer, a parent at Monday’s meeting.

Markham came from Allatoona

Before coming to Lassiter, Markham served as director of bands at Allatoona High School, the assistant director of bands at Kell High and at Lassiter when Lassiter won the Bands of America Grand National Championship in 2002.

While at Kell, she worked with Richie, who was then the assistant principal of the school, and parents

suspected the two had been friends.

Markham graduated with a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Georgia in 1998, and was drum major of the Redcoat Marching Band at the school for two years.

She received a masters in music education from the University of Illinois in 2004, according to the school district website.

Not up to Lassiter’s standards?

Students said Markham didn’t know how to manage such an elite group of musicians.

Brittany Pietsch, a senior flute player, was a drum major this year, and was optimistic when Markham arrived.

Pietsch said she hoped Markham, a former drum major at UGA, would share that experience with the Lassiter drum majors, and was disappointed when it never happened.

Pietsch said she had watched Markham all semester, and felt she was unable to work with every section of the band.

While Markham had some band experience, Pietsch said it wasn’t enough for the Lassiter band.

“I’m sure she would be a good director for a band that doesn’t want to be that good, but that’s not the case at Lassiter,” she said.

Suspected nepotism

Parents said they were concerned that Markham’s husband, Gary Markham, who retired as the supervisor of music for the district last spring, may have been involved in the hiring of his wife, and that the district hadn’t done much to convince them otherwise.

“She was hired under suspicious circumstances,” Bruce Boone said.

Band parents said they were confused about how the hiring process for the new director played out, and have gone so far as to submit open records requests to get more information from the school district.

“Parents feel there has to be some wrongdoing in the hiring in some way,” said Barbara Sobel, a concerned mother of a sophomore tenor saxophone player.

Students upset with changes

Students said they brought a list of concerns to Markham in September, but their teacher had not yet responded to their input.

Jacob Greifinger, a senior trumpet player, said she felt Markham was unable to provide useful information to the young musicians. He was concerned with what he said was a lack of warm-up time spent during rehearsal, misguided directions from Markham on tone quality and an imbalance of sound throughout the band’s sections.

“It’s like having a calculus teacher that doesn’t know half of the curriculum teaching us for the Advanced Placement test,” Greifinger said.

She was perfectly nice, the students stressed, but not knowledgeable enough for their needs.

“She can’t help us because she doesn’t know,” said Tyler Boone, senior first-chair trumpet player.

The students said they joined the Lassiter band because of the wonderful things they had heard about the program, and were worried the future of the band would not hold its stellar reputation.

One of the pillars of the band program was Spirit Plus System Equals Success.

Boone said he felt both the system and the spirit were broken.

Response from district

Markham and Richie were unable to comment Tuesday. When the MDJ called the school, school staff forwarded reporters to the district’s communication desk. Doug Goodwin, a spokesman for the district, said the district did not make comments on personnel matters, and did not return subsequent phone calls.

Board of Education Member David Banks, whose post includes Lassiter, said the school community was going through a rough transition period between band directors.

He had heard complaints from some of the parents at the beginning of the school year, but believed the conflict had been smoothed out.

Banks stood behind the decision of the district, and the school’s principal. He said Markham’s previous band at Allatoona was very successful, and he had faith in the future of Lassiter’s bands.

The board was powerless to making changes with personnel matters, he said.

What parents would like to see

Parents and students said they wanted a new band director.

“She needs to be removed,” Bruce Boone said.

They planned to send personal letters to board members and to present a list of their complaints during public comments at Wednesday’s board meeting.

“We need a new director ASAP. I know I speak for a lot of the kids in the bands. A lot of people would refuse to sit in her class for another semester,” Pietsch said.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Hannah Morgan December 10, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – New band director at Lassiter spurs ire from parents pupils)