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Choices Differ On Band Teacher

Crowd expresses support for previous instructor

July 9, 2013

WHEELING — The Ohio County Board of Education named David Alfred band director of Wheeling Park High School on Monday, despite opposition from a crowd that filled the board room and spilled into the......

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May-06-14 5:01 AM

I wondered onto this thread after searching "Birch" to find the any further discussion about the burning of signs. This is interesting and somewhat onesided. What I read here would suggest that there isn't a balanced discussion. Several potshots are taken, a few vendettas exposed. Unlike those with an ax or two to grind, I did my homework before posting. Alfred led Triadelphia to 20 years of superior ratings and numerous other awards. Along the way he picked up an award or two himself. It also seems that his students were/are the majority of the WPHS Band. I imagine that Alfred must not have played into the wealthy politics over at TMS. Sounds like the guy we need! No comic book characters like Tim Birch, no wannabes like his son, just people who expect to work their ways up from the bottom...

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Jul-10-13 1:26 PM

You know, what I am getting from all of this is there are some parents and students who are TERRIFIED that they are no longer going to be in the spotlight when the new director takes over. Someone's child will no longer be the star. I read that Alfred is too harsh, plays favorites, blah, blah, blah. All I am hearing is, "boo hoo hoo" My baby will no longer get to be the star of the show. Get over yourselves. You have no right to decide who is hired or fired any more than I do. Regardless of it being an elective class, the board is still in charge and makes decisions to the best of their knowledge and from what I have garnered from the community at large is that Mr. Alfred is top of the class.

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Jul-10-13 1:15 PM

I have worked with Mr. Alfred and know nothing about Jason Birch. I also know Pat Garrett. Mr. Alfred and Mr. Garrett have both been very successful in their work.

Mr. Alfred does have favorites, and is also not always the most mature person. That is a personality issue and these kids need to understand by high school that for the rest of their lives they will be dealing with all kinds of personalities. They wont get to pick their boss.

Way to big of deal has been made of this. Get over it already. The decision was made.

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Jul-10-13 12:15 PM


My family had first hand experience with David Alfred. He was nothing as you described. I recall the band awards along with the Christmas Parade. TMS looked like a high school band. That is a direct result of Mr Alfred's hard work and dedication to his students.

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Jul-10-13 8:28 AM

littlefox - I wasn't saying that the board's action was "shameful", I said it was a shame they dismissed the opinions so quickly - two different things entirely. Sorry to have given the wrong impression. And I in no way expect anyone to "cave in" when it would be detrimental. Also, I do not in any way think it's beneficial for parents and students to behave badly and walk out on a quality program just because they don't agree with the board's decision. I didn't think I was lecturing, just voicing my opinion - and given the chance I would very strongly encourage all parents and students considering leaving to step back, take some time and reconsider that decision. It would be a mistake and the only person being truly hurt is the student who wants to make great music and chooses not to because of a personality conflict. I have worked with Mr Alfred in the past and have no problem working with him in the future.

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Jul-09-13 11:41 PM

U lost me at "stupid band." Band students are typically high academic achievers, and WPHS boosts that statistic, year after year.

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Jul-09-13 10:46 PM

The people who were hired to make this decision made their decision. Parents who teach their kids and back this behavior need to be sent to a parenting class.

We have a generation of entitlement in every sense. These kids believe they are more qualified to make the decision than those hired to do the job. The kids with their signs should be kicked out of the band for the rest of high school. That would be a natural consequence.

These kids will go to college and end up working at Wal-Mart, then they will realize how the world really works.

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Jul-09-13 10:25 PM

Forget about the stupid band!!!

Teach your kids the CONSTITUTION!!!

Teach them how to READ, WRITE, SPELL, and do BASIC math!!!

Teach them that guns don't kill people!!

PEOPLE kill people!!!!

Teach them that drug and alcohol abuse is NOT a disease!!!!

It's a CHOICE!!!

Teach them that PARENTS are directly responsible for any and all actions of their children!!!

Teach them the 10 commandments!!!

Teach them that being a christian ISN'T a BAD thing!!

Teach them that PARENTS, not the school will determine how they are to be raised!!

Teach them that "FREE" is NEVER really free!!

Teach them that the police state mentality in Ohio county is tyranny!

Teach them what TREASON and TYRANNY looks like!!!

And most important of all, teach your children that they must get a job and become a contributing member of society and NOT set at home collecting welfare the rest of their lives!!!

They will learn NONE of these things in the Ohio County school system!!!

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Jul-09-13 10:03 PM

Parents, this is an opportuntity for your child t shine.

Students, jump at this opportuntity. Step up and fill the spot of those that find it too dfficult to adapt to a different Band Director's methods.

An opportuntity fofieted by some will be exploited by others for success.

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Jul-09-13 10:02 PM

Most ohio county parents I've seen feel it's more important to drive a $60,000 dollar suv and keep up with the neighbors than put their kids in a REAL school!!

Liberals seem to love Ohio county!!!

But I don't see how they sleep at night dropping their crumb crunchers off at a PUBLIC school every day in their Escalades and BMWs!!!

They really don't love their kids after all it's ALL about the MONEY and the STATUS!!!

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Jul-09-13 7:43 PM

One need not wonder what is happening in the schools and why, you need only read this bombardment of whiny parents who feel they should run the program. Even worse some are encouraging musicians to not be in the band to try to ruin the band. The absolute biggest probem to public school education continues to be the parents who never fail to demonstrate horrendous conduct for their kids and others. The BOE hired a guy with better credentials, whats the big deal there that should always be the goal. That would be a good lesson for the coaches who carve out little kingdoms and stay forever, even after they retire. If the Park band is not good this year, just scroll back to these postings and check out the people who want it to be bad. Nothing was done that would prevent kids from being good musicians and band members, but the Moms who thought they had the temp guy broken in are upset. Grow up and let kids grow up too. And let them play and have band memories, not your drama.

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Jul-09-13 6:16 PM

"Really?? The girls holding signs in this picture are not even WPHS band students, and there wasn't anywhere near a majority of WPHS band students attending this meeting, let alone protesting in favor of Mr. Birch."

I can confirm that my child has spoken to 3 or 4 band members personally who have decided not to continue with band. The band is the activity our child loves most about school - but when the people you enjoy the activity with have decided they don't want to deal with Mr. Alfred and you can't convince them to stay - let's just say my kid has been in tears since last night.

Mr. Alfred is not a new band director to the people involved in music in Ohio County. We, and our children in particular, know him quite well. Very educated - not much in the wisdom department, unfortunately. He incessantly and unnecessarily plays favorites with the kids right in front of the parents in what is supposed to be a group activity - apparently some people have had enough.

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Jul-09-13 5:58 PM

happymom, So you publicly say the BOE's behavior was "shameful" because they didn't cave to a partisan group of parents and students.

Then you say - "one of the great things about our country is the ability to speak differing opinions, but what can make us truly great (or break us) as a people is our ability to work together regardless of those differences."

Lecture that to the quitters and whiners happymom.

Oh well, good for you for saying you'll be supportive.

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Jul-09-13 5:44 PM

Citizen0 said "The band is falling apart as we speak."

Really?? The girls holding signs in this picture are not even WPHS band students, and there wasn't anywhere near a majority of WPHS band students attending this meeting, let alone protesting in favor of Mr. Birch.

Citizen0 also said "... Mr. Alfred, his personality needs work."

Really??? Maybe the one calling the new band director names and helping to make this transition as difficult as possible for everyone needs to "occupy" a mirror.

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Jul-09-13 5:04 PM

Having three children involved in the both the TMS and WPHS bands over the past few years I can tell everyone why there was a protest. Quite frankly, even given the ample qualifications and work ethic of Mr. Alfred, his personality needs work. As high school bands absolutely rely on the help of both the children who choose to be involved in band and the parents who volunteer to assist the band director to succeed, personality is extremely important to sustain the level of interest to keep the band funded and playing.

The reason there was a protest to retain Mr. Birch is very simple - he was both extremely competent and extremely likeable.

I know many children and parents who will vote with their feet because Mr. Alfred is quite frankly a prima donna and they really don't see the point in trying to make music with someone who doesn't play nice with others. Having knowledge and beating people over the head with it are two different things. The band is falling apart as we speak

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Jul-09-13 4:58 PM

To pass up on an opportunity to be a part of an outstanding high school band based upon a loyalty to one teacher is a personal decision that will likely affect the student much more severely that it will the teacher.

I'm sure this teacher, with the credentials as former Band Director at WPHS will be provided many opportunities.

Will the student that decides to sit out the program in protest be afforded a similar opportunity to be a part of such a band in the future?

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Jul-09-13 4:42 PM

The power is in the hands of the students( Band Members) don't go out, plain and simple, the School Board will react to that.

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Jul-09-13 3:34 PM

you peeps be funny!

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Jul-09-13 1:47 PM

What is the big deal about not getting Birch? He was up against someone else for the job and the board felt that Mr. Alfard had the better resume. This is how job searches go. Mr. Birch will survive. We all go after jobs we really want and don't get. Yes he was good with the kids but there is now a new director who should get the same chance that Mr. Birch had. Parents need to be good examples for their children and the community and accept and respect the decision and welcome the new director who may be the next great thing for WPHS Band.

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Jul-09-13 1:41 PM

HercX007 - Our students learned an important lesson in policy - not everyone's opinions and feelings are going to come out on top and someone's going to miss out on getting what they want. The important thing is getting everyone to work together to maintain a quality program which was created for the sake of the students. This is not a required course - this is an elective which is very demanding and these kids give their heart and soul for it. Why not allow them a voice? As long as they are respectful and behave appropriately I applaud their desire to be involved. I do not subscribe to the attitude "if you don't promote the person WE want, I am taking my trumpet and going home" My student will remain an active particpant and he will benefit from this experience on multiple levels; perhaps the most telling is that even adults don't always play well together, while others are still able to differ in their opinions but successfully achieve a common goal.

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Jul-09-13 1:30 PM

littlefox - one of the great things about our country is the ability to speak differing opinions, but what can make us truly great (or break us) as a people is our ability to work together regardless of those differences. I have no problem with Mr Alfred being named director and will support him, even though I felt Mr Birch should have been extended the opportunity to continue due to a successful year, representing his ability to win the confidence of the students. They are intelligent and talented and they were quite nervous about starting a new year with an unknown quotient. I was looking forward to seeing what he was going to be able to accomplish with our kids in the upcoming year.

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Jul-09-13 1:28 PM

Both of these gentlemen are excellent candidates. I am proud to say I know both of them and they both have excellent character and care greatly for their students.

With that said, David Alfreds resume is one of the best in the country. The OCSS is VERY lucky to have an instructor like him on staff. Jason will undoubtedly have plenty of great opportunities in the near future.

For once, (and I'm almost afraid to say it) the Ohio County School System made the right decision here.

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Jul-09-13 12:53 PM

This is very sad. Jason Birch would carry on the extrordinary history of the Pride of the Ohio County built by Patrick Garrett I am so sorry for the students who will not get to experience this. What was the Board thinking? What was the Board thinking? Listen to the parents. David Alfred does not have what it takes to carry on.

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Jul-09-13 12:19 PM

One of the problems with our society today? Children thinking that they are in charge and running things. I don't get to decide who my new boss is at work. I may not like the choice but I was raised to be, respectful of whoever is in charge regardless of what I think. I can give input, maturely, and have my feelings known but if I threaten to quit, I would be shown the door if I choose to leave. I think that is what needs to be done here. If you don't agree and are going to churn the waters of dissent, then you can go. If you want to play great music and continue to be part of a positive and winning organization that wins awards and performs top-notch concerts and shows, then we would love to have you. The lack of maturity and kindergarten-like attitude of "if you don't promote the person WE want, I am taking my trumpet and going home" is shameful. The parents need to grow up and let the newly promoted director do his job.

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Jul-09-13 9:18 AM

happymom, If they did dismiss the opinions of parents and students, it looks like they dismissed the opinions that were in line with yours. If the results were different, would you give similar complaints from the other side any credibility?

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