The sudden departure of an Allen high school band director leaves parents with questions and concerns.
Longtime Allen Eagle Escadrille band director Charles Pennington had led the 853-member band since 1999. His unexplained absence during the 5A Division I state championship in late December raised eyebrows.
Fox 4 sources say Pennington had the flu, followed by more health problems. He briefly returned to Allen High School in January to tell some of his band students that he wasn't coming back.
"He told us enough. He kept a lot of it to himself to keep it more personal," Cameron Crowley, junior, said.
Parents, on the other hand, didn't find out until a letter was sent home. The letter said the Ereckson Middle School band director, Blane Hinton, would take over. The abrupt change upset parents and students.
"It's like a divorce for these kids, as far as I'm concerned. It's like the breakup of the family, and it's like, why do it now," Peter Silander, father of an Allen band senior, asked. "Why not do it at a break time, when you can actually prepare the kids for the next season?"
Pennington, who now teaches at Ereckson Middle School, told Fox 4 he appreciates the support, but would not comment about the change.
Allen ISD also declined a request for an interview. The district hasn't revealed much, but a spokesman said Pennington was not removed for any criminal or unethical reasons. The spokesman would not say if the decision was voluntary.
KDFW FOX 4
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