HYANNIS – A group of high school students across Cape Cod is calling for the cancellation of singer Don McLean’s concert at Barnstable High School in April.
McLean, who is known for his hit song “American Pie,” was arrested on charges of domestic violence assault in January in Maine.
Student presidents of the Mentors in Violence Prevention programs at four high schools across the Cape requested a stop to the performance through a letter sent to Barnstable’s Interim Superintendent William Butler.
Jack Giberti and Robert Welch, the co-presidents of the MVP program at Barnstable High School, Chloe Samter, MVP president at Falmouth High School, and Paxton Reed, the MVP president at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, all signed the letter.
The president of the MVP program for Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, Danielle Lavallee, was not available to meet the day the letter was signed.
“We believe Mr. McLean is a bad role model,” the letter stated. “We believe his appearance provide by Spectacle Management on Cape Cod would be a mistake. We believe payment to Mr. McLean for his entertainment enables him to continue a lifestyle we do not agree with.”
The goal of the MVP program is to spread awareness to students that domestic violence, dating violence, bullying and equality unacceptance is not acceptable.
The program is supported by Independence House, a Cape Cod non-profit that helps victims and those affected by domestic or sexual violence.
According to MVP program coordinator Kira Jewett, Independence House is not involved with the letter and is only supporting the students in their decision.
Giberti approached the other MVP student presidents about joining to stop the concert and wrote the letter sent to Butler.
“We feel that he is a bad role model. We don’t want to encourage that behavior,” Giberti said. “And him coming to the school would not be something we would want to see in the student body.”
Reed echoed the stance of fellow MVP president Giberti.
“We’re just not okay with supporting someone who is involved with domestic abuse,” Reed said. “We are not okay with having someone like that come to our schools so we are trying to stop that.”
Reed also feels this is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the topics of domestic violence and dating violence.
“It is really unfortunate what happened with him and his wife,” Reed said. “We are not going to stand for someone like that to come to our schools and we are not going to support that.”
Reed said they wanted to get the word out around the Cape and it’s schools.
Interim Barnstable School Superintendent William Butler said they are in discussions with McLean’s management company to determine if the show should still take place.
Butler said the school committee will also review its policy for booking events at school facilities during their next meeting on March 2.
Giberti said he has already thought about possible actions to be taken if the request to cancel the concert is ignored which could include a boycott or protest.
McLean has pleaded not guilty to the six charges he faces stemming from his arrest on January 18.
He faces a misdemeanor count of domestic-violence, along with misdemeanor charges of terrorizing, criminal threatening, criminal restraint, criminal mischief and obstructing the reporting of a crime.
McLean says the case is “a tragedy for our family and especially my wife.”
McLean’s wife filed a handwritten request for protection after the January arrest. The couple later announced that the protection order was dismissed.
The singer lives in Camden, Maine. “American Pie” topped the Billboard chart 44 years ago.
By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter
Material from the Associated Press was used in this article.