9/11 Memorial Security Guard Silences Student Choir

The 9/11 Memorial Museum has responded to the backlash from a museum security guard stopping a middle school choir from singing the National Anthem at the monument.

According to the New York Times, a guardian on the field trip with the Waynesville Middle School, located in western North Carolina, posted video footage of the students singing the national anthem while expressing her outrage in the video’s caption.

“WMS chorus singing @ Twin Towers Memorial. They stopped them half the way thru. You can’t sing the National Anthem. So sad this is happening everywhere. They sounded great. God Bless America!”

Upon the video going viral, Kaylee Skaar, a spokeswoman of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, responded to the public outcry, according to Time Magazine.

“We reached out to the school to express our regret for how this was handled and asked the principal to share how we felt with the students. We welcome the choir to return to the Memorial for another visit in the future.”

The New York Times reported that middle school teacher Martha Brown had been given permission by another security guard to sing in the 9/11 Memorial’s plaza. According to Time Magazine, the memorial charges $35 for groups to perform. Ms. Brown claims that she was unaware of the permit requirement, she expressed to the New York Times. 9/11 Memorial museum officials not only want civilians to apply for a performance permit, but they also have a list of rules to accompany it. According to the New York Times, the rules include no amplification of the live performance and not interfering with pedestrian walkways and museum traffic flow.

As 50 of the Waynesville Middle School students began to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a security guard approached the group, chorus teacher Martha Brown told the Times.

“You just can’t do this; you’ve got to stop now.”

Ms. Brown and her students complied with the demands of the security guard and quietly left the park. Still, the incident at the memorial was disheartening, one of the student told AOL.com.

“We just wanted to show our respect to the people who lost their lives.”

Martha Brown was also disappointed by what had occurred. She had claimed that her students had respectfully gathered and quietly sang, she told AOL.com.

“It was a very moving moment, and it was unfortunate that it got cut off…It was confusing to the students because they were singing from their hearts.”

Connie Scanlon, who accompanied her 34-year-old daughter, Kelly McMahan, and her daughter’s daughter Hailey, told Time that she had posted her McMahan’s footage of the children singing on Facebook. Once the video had gone viral, Fox News invited the students to perform the national anthem on television. According to the New York Times, Brown and the middle school’s principal, Trevor Putnam, accompanied their students to the performance on Monday.

Despite all that had occurred, Ms. Brown still used this scenario as a lesson to teach her students to respect authority, she told the New York Times. She explained to her group of students that though they might not agree with the person in charge, they still need to make an effort to listen. In solidarity with the chorus teacher, Mr. Putnam also agreed that this scenario was an important learning experience, he told the New York Times in a phone interview. He praised his students with the way they handled the incident at the 9/11 Memorial.

“I’m so proud of our kids for conducting themselves the way they did.”

[Photo by Getty Images Pool]