Current and former students of Moody High School took time out of their summer vacation last week to stand up for something that they believe in. The students assembled at the school to protest the firing of a teacher that they said they have come to love and respect in the form of MHS band director Kim Hass.

Hass is one of 31 non-tenured teachers in the St. Clair County School System that received a pink slip at the end of the school year and many of her students are disappointed with the decision.

Students and adults protesting her dismissal said they do not want a new band director and believe that Hass has brought the Moody Blues Marching Band into a new era.

“We organized this event because with love Ms. Hass,” said 2009 MHS senior and former drum major Bhavan Modi. “She is like our mom, a mentor and a guide. She is not only a band director. She is all those things. She has made such a huge impact on our lives. I mean, if I were to stand here and tell you how much she means to us, it would take all day and maybe even longer.”

Students said they heard Hass was not going to be renewed as a teacher the Monday before the last week of school and they were all heartbroken. After hearing the news, the students began rallying around their teacher and even attended a board of education meeting in hopes of changing the administrators’ minds.

“They said that they cannot really say anything to us because it is an employee matter, but they did say they have options,” said Modi. “So they do have options to rehire, but that does not mean they will. We just don’t know.”

Even adults who have children in the school system came out to show their support. Shannon King has helped rally the students together over the past few weeks and said that she got behind the issue because she feels Hass has been a great leader for the MHS band and very supportive of her students. “They all love her and really want to keep her,” she said. “The hardest thing for everyone involved is the fact that you always hear about Teacher of the Year and how kids are supposed to respect their teachers. You hear about students who want to learn and how you want teachers to aspire to be great. Well, she is that to everybody and all her students. That is exactly what is so hard. They want her. They love her and they respect her. It doesn’t make sense as to why they would not keep her and bring in somebody new. Especially, considering she already has their respect and has did so much for the band.”

Hass has been with Moody High School for two years and students said during that time she brought unity. Since becoming band director, Hass has brought the band to the Magic Kingdom Parade in Disney World, led the band to state competition for the first time in four years and 2009 was first year they have ever scored a one in sight-reading. “That is kind of a hard thing to do,” said Modi. “It is a music piece that none of us have ever seen. You only get 30 seconds to look at the sheet and then you have to play it. We scored a one, being the best, and that is the first time we have ever scored that high.”

Hass has also organized a choir at Moody High School, as well as a winter guard for the band. The MHS Winter Guard took fifth place in a national competition this year. Students admit she has also given them a chance to compose music and concentrate more on theory.

One student said that Hass doesn’t work on one particular thing, but helps students with everything. “Another reason why she is so important is because our previous band director, Regina King, who passed away, hand chose Ms. Hass,” said MHS student Lauren Howard.

“She is the kind of teacher that schools really need,” said King. “Not the kind you ever let go.”

They added it has been hard losing two band directors over the past few years. “It is just not fair to us,” Modi said.

Protestors said they are not trying to cause any disrespect to the school or the school system, but they do want to fight for a teacher they care about.

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