Holly Winstead paid $18 because her son, a trumpet player named Evan, had been told he was required to have a section t-shirt as a member of the marching band at Winder-Barrow High School in Winder, Georgia. When the shirt came in, however, Winstead was shocked to find a “politicized” message.
Evan’s shirt was red, with a “TRUMPET” logo meant to imitate the “TRUMP” campaign branding. It included the slogan, “Make Music Great Again.”
“He came home with his yesterday and if they think for one single second that I’m gonna put my child in this f—ing piece of s–t shirt, then they have another thin[g] coming,” Winstead wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday. “Y’all pray because me and Josh are ready to raise all kinds of hell about this today. It is UNACCEPTABLE to politicize high school marching band in ANY way REGARDLESS of who you voted for. And I want a FULL refund.”
According to Winstead, they were not shown a sample of the design for the shirts before the shirts were ordered.
Winstead contacted the band director, Jerry Pharr, who wrote back to explain that each section was responsible for creating their own t-shirts, and that the shirts were not required.
“We will gladly refund any money spent to any student/parent that would like a refund,” Pharr said. “In no way, does the band as a whole intentionally try and take any particular political stance and we certainly would remain neutral on these issues as to respect all points of view. One of our goals is to provide a welcoming place for students to be a part and be the best musicians that we can.”
“Our trumpet section leader feels very bad about the trouble this has caused and in no way intended to politicize what we do as an organization or to express any one individuals view point,” Pharr wrote.
“I hope you will accept my sincere apology for any distress this has caused and that you will still have confidence in myself and the other band staff to do what is right and best for all of our student body.”
Dena McElhannon also write a letter to Pharr.
“As you are well aware, politics in education can become volatile and invite bad publicity to our community,” McElhannon wrote. ” I hope this will be a consideration in the future printing of logos for shirts.”
On Saturday, Winstead said her son had received a text asking him and the other trumpet players to return their shirts.
Winstead’s post was shared dozens of times on Facebook and drew hundreds of comments and reactions.