Thousands sign petition after Bullard High marching band is banned from school's field

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- You may see and hear the Bullard Marching Band at the football games.

One place you may not see them, however, is rehearsing on the Bullard High practice field.

"This is a school field. All the kids should be able to use the field," says Tony Raimondo, president of the Bullard Band Backers.

Raimondo, along with many other parents, are angry. They say the district isn't allowing the marching band to rehearse on the practice field.

Until recently, they were having to practice at a spot near the aquatic center.

"The district claims that marching band causes too much damage. You have football and soccer that practices on that field. Kids are wearing tennis shoes," Raimondo says.

Adds Sandra Ramon, another parent, "The one they're alleging we tear up is the one that's always full of mud. Its been going on."

Students are now fighting back.

One of the band members started a petition that generated thousands of signatures within hours.

In it, a simple request: To get the same treatment as other teams and groups at the school.

"It feels horrible because the field they're forced to practice on is torn up, they have to bring in portable lighting," says Sam Spradling, another parent.

Fresno Unified school district officials say this is a district-wide practice, and realize the band's current practice space is difficult to use because of watering and heavy use.

They say the school's administration met with the band director and "collectively identified alternative green space that will serve as a new practice field for the Bullard marching band."

Parents say that's not good enough.

"We think the district is treating the band kids like second-class citizens, they're regulating them to a second-class field," says Raimondo.

Raimondo says this is a problem across several Fresno Unified schools, and he's planning a meeting with more parents to make sure all students are treated fairly.
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