The marching band at Holtville High School in Alabama was initially banned by a school district official from performing the Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" at halftime shows, but that decision was quickly reversed (video below).
Elmore County Superintendent Andre Harrison decided to cut the Christian hymn on July 22 after a parent complained, and after consulting with school attorneys, WSFA reported.
However, there was outrage among some parents and students (pictured) over the decision. A Facebook page was created to support the band playing the Christian song on government property, and the page's organizers promised to sing the religious tune if it was not performed.
Evangelist Franklin Graham slammed the decision on his Facebook page on July 24:
But the Holtville High School band in Alabama won’t be allowed to perform it publicly because of a complaint? Give me a break. “Amazing Grace” is the message of hope, God’s love and His mercy that people need today. The law and the Constitution don’t require this school to pull the song—this is just another example of bullying and intimidation. If we as Christians keep folding in these situations, there will be nothing left to defend.
Harrison subsequently reversed his decision, announcing on his Facebook page on July 24 that the band would be allowed to play the religious song during football halftime shows:
Last week, the Elmore County School District received a complaint about the Holtville High School Band playing the hymn "Amazing Grace" during the halftime show of the football game. The same person called the Central Office twice and questioned the constitutionality of the band playing the song. After consulting with legal counsel and receiving an admittedly conservative recommendation, I made the decision to remove the song from the halftime show.
After word of my decision circulated, I heard from many concerned parents, and frankly I still had reservations about my initial decision. I asked counsel to do further research on this issue and present me with options that would keep the district in legal compliance, but permit performance of one of the most iconic songs in the history of our nation. Based on that additional research, I have decided today that the band will be allowed to perform "Amazing Grace" this fall.
I thank you all for your support and for letting your voices be heard, and I STAND firmly by my decision.