FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Students with the Bullard High School Marching Band have taken to social media and a grassroots effort to petition the Fresno Unified School District into allowing them to practice on their football field.
Students say they were told they can’t use it because of the wear and tear on the field. But band members say football players use it and they wear cleats.
So far, the band has collected 3,500 signatures to use their own football field. They tell CBS47 that they haven’t been allowed to practice their cadences since Monday of this week because their current grassy area has been muddy due to a sprinkler problem.
“It’s just a lot of easier if the district would support us and let us use the field,” says Bullard Marching Band, President Marena Moua.
Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales asks, “It’s just kind of ironic that you guys wear tennis shoes?”
Moua says, “Yes and then football player wear cleats on the field. It’s not like we are asking for more, we’re just asking for equal.”
The students have the support of their parents and others.
“We want a healthy football program at Bullard and other schools in the district, but not at the expense of band,” says President of the Bullard Band Backers Anthony Raimondo.
“There is room for everybody and we need access to those fields. We couldn’t be prouder of our kids that they put the petition out there and speaking up in a way that is constructive, helpful which is more than I can say for Fresno Unified.”
A Fresno Unified spokesperson sent a picture of the field where the band usually practices. It shows the grass worn out and muddy.
Fresno Unified officials say that is why it’s now district policy to not let any band practice on the districts football fields. Band parents say that was not the case last year.
A district spokesperson says a meeting took place Thursday morning with the band director, the school’s maintenance crew, and school officials. A new green space was picked where the band can practice.
“I think it should be a multi-use field,” says former Bullard Band member Sam Spradling.
“It’s used for football, it’s used for soccer, why can’t the band use it with their tennis shoes?”
Spradling adds it was the band’s fundraising efforts that helped purchase the lights for the football field back in 1991.
Bullard High Band parents are planning to have their own meeting Friday evening at 7 p.m. at Bullard High. CBS47 will keep you updated on any developments.