FAIR LAWN, N.J. -- More than 100 people attended the Fair Lawn Board of Education meeting on May 19 to protest the district decision to release Thomas Jefferson Middle School Band Director Daniel Burbank from his contract.
One by one, for nearly an hour and half, parents, students, alumni, and community members faced the board, sharing stories about how Burbank had made a difference to themselves and to the Fair Lawn community.
Burbank teaches at TJ Middle School and is the Assistant Director of both the Fair Lawn High School Marching Band and Fair Lawn Indoor Percussion program.
The Fair Lawn Marching Band placed second at USBands Nationals at Metlife Stadium in November. The Fair Lawn Indoor Percussion Ensemble took first place at USBands Championships at Lehigh University in April.
Both these programs have earned Fair Lawn a strong reputation.
“This decision does not just take a teacher out of a classroom, it takes a passionate leader and musician out of the music program in the district. And we would like to understand why this decision was made. We can only imagine that people don’t know the incredible job that Mr. Burbank does for Fair Lawn,” said Rebecca Graziano, President of the Fair Lawn Friends of Music.
Middle School student Ariel Wilk was one of 19 students who addressed the Board about how Burbank positively influenced their lives.
Wilk talked about learning music theory. High School students Nadiv Kaspi and Jonathan Dabie explained how Burbank had made an impact on their performance in Marching Band. Elementary school student Mateo Marino said that Burbank made playing music fun.
Parents addressed the board, praising Burbank for the many hours he dedicates to students and performing ensembles in the district.