Differing perspectives on the Wausau East band situation
Parents of the Wausau East student, as well as fellow band students speak out, and they're not saying the same thing
UPDATE: I added new information about this story to the bottom.
I came across a post Saturday morning about the Wausau East Band situation; this time from fellow students in the band room. In case you need a recap, here is my first and second stories about the situation.
That comes after I spoke with the student in question’s parents about the situation. I agreed not to name the mother, but the father, Twan Vongphakdy, went on the record.
Vongphakdy’s account painted a deeper picture of what happened to his son, and shed some details about how the situation has impacted him. Twan (I will refer to him that way from now on for ease of comprehension) was bullied by a teacher when he was a Wausau West student. To see his son go through the same thing stings him in a way his own bully never could.
But details compiled collectively by several students of Wausau East Band released over Instagram reveal a different picture of the situation. The account comes from a newly created Instagram account called eastbandstudents. The post in question is the only one the account has posted so far.
Some questions have been raised about the authenticity of the account. Fortunately I found a person who also knows Perkins and some of the band students, and through conversations with some of those students, this person verifies that the account is reflective of at least some of the band member’s perspectives. That said, it’s still basically an anonymous account. 1
The other students, some of whom are of different ethic backgrounds or disabled or neurodivergent, say the Wausau East Band Teacher, Rob Perkins, did inadvertently say some of the words mentioned in the initial open letter Hmong leaders put out in response to Perkins being returned to the classroom. But, they said, in was in the middle of rehearsal and he was calling out the sounds he wanted to hear at the appropriate moment.
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