Clerical error keeps Centennial students from choir contest - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Clerical error keeps Centennial students from choir contest

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FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

A clerical error is disappointing students in a Williamson County school chorus, who are not being allowed to enter the big statewide competition. Their families say they shouldn't be punished for someone else's mistake.

Tina and Ken Moore said their daughter, Sarah, a junior at Centennial High School, worked extremely hard this year and won first chair in the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association All-State Choral Competition.

"It was so exciting that she was getting to go to All-State," Tina Moore said.

But excitement quickly turned to disappointment.

"Of course, my daughter is devastated. We're upset and angry," Ken Moore said.

Sarah and six other Centennial High students qualified for the state choral competition, but one chose not to take part because of a scheduling conflict.

"They are being disqualified not because of anything they did, but because of a paperwork or clerical error," the father said.

There was an apparent mixup between two Williamson County Schools employees. First, there was a late invoice, and then after the check was written and mailed, it was post marked two days after the registration deadline.

"It wasn't like the payment was a month late. It was a couple of days, and it wasn't the children's fault," the mother said.

Centennial Principal Dr. Leigh Webb released a statement which states: "Our students have worked very hard for this honor and deserve the right to compete, despite adults' errors. We will continue to see if there can be a way for our students to compete, but at this time all of our appeals have been denied. Appropriate measures have taken place at the school site level to ensure this type of error doesn't happen again."

Once the students were disqualified from participating in All-State, MTVA contacted Williamson County Schools officials to inform them that an alternative student could take part. All they had to do was mail in a check.

"At the same time they were denying the group that had qualified to begin with, they were informing the school that they could now send a check for the alternative - that the alternative was allowed to go even though they had the check in their possession for the original students that qualified," Ken Moore said.

For now, all the student can do is wait and hope the music association board will change its mind.

"It's not right that they worked so hard to get to achieve this and they are not getting to follow it through," Tina Moore said.

Channel 4 News reached out to the MTVA president but hasn't heard back.

An Antioch High student was also disqualified because her check didn't arrive on time. Her choir teacher, we're told, was out on maternity leave.

But according to MTVA meeting minutes, the board voted to allow all seven students from another school to compete, despite a payment for only six of the students were received on time. A parent later paid for the remaining student, and the school had to re-issue a check.

The state competition is scheduled to take place in Memphis in April.

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