Irving community fights to keep high school band director

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Students of the MacArthur High School band in Irving quietly held up their signs in support to bring Darrin Duff, former Head Band Director back (Image: Rachel Hawkins / NDG)

By Rachel Hawkins, NDG Staff Writer

‘Keeping the Duff’ was on the forefront of everyone minds during the Irving Independent School District (Irving ISD) school board meeting on May 29. Parents, teachers, and students gathered at the Irving ISD administration building to share why they are seeking reinstatement of Darrin Duff, former Head Band Director at MacArthur High School.

Duff tendered a resignation, but most students, parents and staff members believe he did not want to leave MacArthur High School.

Speaking before the Board of Trustees, parents and staff members suggested Duff was encouraged to resign by school officials; however, they did not elaborate further on the circumstances surrounding his resignation.

Dr. Stephanie Elmore, co-president of the MacArthur Band Booster, and mother of a senior band student shared with the board members why the students needed him.

“I know you have received numerous emails from all of us about Mr. Duff, and it should be obvious on the overwhelming support he has,” Elmore said. “We know it is within the board’s power to accept the rescinding of Mr. Duff resignation.

During his eight years at MacArthur High School, the parents said Duff gained the trust of the students and parents. He proposed the highest level of musicianship to their students. Many students explained how his leadership helped them not only become better musicians but better students and individuals as well.

Several of students shared that Duff was a role model to them, and they looked forward to seeing him in band class.

“Band is facing a crisis of uncertainty,” Elmore said. “The students are understandably upset at the disruption of the continuity of their music education. The band boosters know that Mr. Duff is honest, talented, and a huge assets both to MacArthur Band and Irving ISD as a whole. Keeping Mr. Duff is what’s best for the kids and the school.”

Marin Smith, a junior at MacArthur High School, explained how he would never have gotten this far without Duff.

“He has always been there for me, Smith said. “In all honesty, he is more than a band director; he is like a second father. I met him in sixth grade where I had the honor of him to teach me the saxophone. By sophomore year I wanted to quit band because I believed that I wasn’t as good as the other players, but Mr. Duff called me into his office and assured me that I was one of his best players.

Smith shared he never had anyone believed in him as Duff did.

“He always saw something I never did,” Smith said. “I cannot imagine that after him helping me get this far that I would not have Mr. Duff there for my senior year. I also feel terrible for the kids who will never get the chance to meet him or get taught by him.”

The comments were offered during open remarks time on the board’s agenda. The board offered no comment and took no action.