http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041215/NEWS18/412150341 Rossford cancels Christian rock band; local group was to play at anti-drug school assembly next week By IGNAZIO MESSINA BLADE STAFF WRITER Rossford High School officials were considering letting a Christian rock band play during an anti-drug assembly next week, but decided yesterday to cancel the performance because of concerns over having religious music played in a public school. "We are just shutting the whole thing down," Rossford Superintendent Luci Gernot said. "There is some controversy, and I'd rather err on this side." The school district's law firm, Whalen & Compton of Akron told school officials yesterday that it "wasn't appropriate" to let the band Pawn perform at the school, Ms. Gernot said. A representative of the law firm could not be reached for comment last night. Pawn's songs regularly make reference to Jesus and God, said David Kleeberger, the band's manager who is also a member of the Rossford school board. Mr. Kleeberger is the father of band member Kyle Kleeberger, a senior at Rossford High. "I'm between a rock and a hard place because I represent the schools," Mr. Kleeberger said. "I don't want anyone suing the schools over this." Students would have had the option of whether or not to attend the band's performance, which was going to be held during school hours. Students who chose not to attend the performance would either go to a study hall or view an anti-drug-themed movie in the school auditorium. Donna Chiarelott, whose son is a senior at the school, objected to the band's performance. "I think there is a place for Christian bands, and schools aren't where they belong," Ms. Chiarelott said. "Maybe most people don't really see anything wrong with it, but there is a line and this is crossing it. I'm amazed they even considered it." Ms. Gernot said she did not see the harm in allowing the band to play, but understood Ms. Chiarelott's concerns. "I look at it similar to when we have our choir singing songs," Ms. Gernot said. "There is a lot of choir literature that is very Christian in nature, and I don't see that as religious in nature." Kyle Kleeberger said he and other members of the band are disappointed about not being able to perform. "Most of the kids want us to play," he said. "We were going in there to talk about drugs, and what our beliefs are on that. But everyone knows us as a Christian band, and that's a touchy subject, I guess." Interestingly, it was a 1936 Rossford High School graduate, atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair, then known as Madalyn Mays, whose lawsuit against Baltimore public schools led to the 1963 Supreme Court ruling outlawing prayer in schools.