Band instrument policy prompts legal action against local school district

Band instrument policy prompts legal action against local school district

GRANDVILLE, Mich. – West Michigan Band Instruments is taking legal action against Grandville Public Schools in federal court with hopes it can change a policy the owner says violates the 1st Amendment.

WMBI owner David Didaskalou says Grandville is only giving one band instrument company access to important meetings with parents of students, giving that instrument company an unfair advantage, and not giving parents a chance to see all options from other companies.

“Competition does a couple of things, it lowers prices and increases the quality of service you’re going to get,” he said, criticizing Grandville’s policy.

A Judge has denied a previous request by WMBI for a temporary restraining order regarding Grandville’s policy, but now the school district mush show cause as to why a preliminary junction must not be allowed to go forward.

In an emailed statement provided to Newschannel 3, Grandville Superintendent Roger Bearup seemed to indicate the district would be standing by its policy, while maintaining that parents could always look elsewhere for instruments.

“Grandville Public Schools has a process aimed at providing our students and parents with the best service, quality and value,” he wrote. “The process is accomplished while still allowing parents the choice of where they get these services.”

It’s not the first time a West Michigan school district’s policy regarding band instrument companies has prompted legal action.

WMBI also took legal action against Spring Lake Public Schools back in 2016.

According to Didaskalou, that action prompted Spring Lake to change its policy, and not have an exclusive deal with one instrument company.

A judge is expected to hear both WMBI and Grandville Public Schools make their case in District Court in Kalamazoo on August 24th.

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