KENNEWICK – Parents from an Oregon high school have written a complaint saying their children were inappropriately grabbed and groped by members of a Washington school’s marching band.
A letter from the St. Helens Band Patrons Parent Organization describes the behavior of some Kennewick High School students during a band retreat in Yakima last month. The organization sent the letter to the school district and the state Board of Education, which has forwarded the complaint to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for review.
Several Kennewick band members “reached out and grabbed, groped and swatted St. Helens band students on their butts, crotches and in other locations” during the retreat, according to the letter.
Kennewick officials said in a statement to the Tri-City Herald that several marching band members admitted to giving congratulatory “pats” or “slaps” on the backsides of other participants at the retreat. Some students have been disciplined, although details of the punishment were not released.
More than 40 St. Helens students reported being touched – as many as 15 times – by Kennewick band members during the Harvest Marching Band Festival.