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Obama Inauguration Choir Students Enjoy Hooters

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In The News

At least 40 choir students got what many would deem the field trip of a lifetime when their music choir teacher took them to lunch at Hooters in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Music teacher Segall told the Arizona-based high school principal that  Hooters Restaurant, the spot well-known for busty waitresses dressed in tight-fitting white shirts and bright orange shorts, was the only place that could accommodate a group of that size. It seems that even in desperation, and the looming of starvation, Hooters Restaurant is not acceptable. Choir kids gotta eat too.
Mary Segall led those choir students to perform at President Obama's Inaugural Ball just last January. Segall, choir director at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, AZ, is now suddenly on administrative leave after 23 years in her role as a teacher in the school district. Apparently some acts are that serious, and that unforgivable-specifically, Hooters visits.
The high school's spokeswoman, Judi Willis, says she doesn't know whether Segall will be returning before retirement. Now, that does seem like a shame: a music teacher for nearly a quarter of one century, and apparently a great enough teacher that students performed at Obama's inaugaration.
Mike McNeill, VP of Marketing for Hooters USA, said he was unfamiliar with the 'incident' (apparently lunch is now an 'incident') and could not comment. C'mon, he's VP of Marketing for Hooters: the man's smart enough to know the media will be all over this one, without him saying a damned thing. After all, it's gotta be news when a lunch 'incident' involves an educator, a facility for education, a principal requiring a spokeswoman, a spokeswoman including what appears personal opinion, 40 lucky high school students, a music program that performed at the President's inauguration, and the Hooters (well-endowed) Restaurant servers.
Can't get more 'newsworthy' than this one, especially since the only true drama seems 90% ore more created by the school itself: images of chickens with their heads cut off come to mind. Parents don't seems to be complaining to the hilt about the Hooters 'incident'. The only participants in statements seem to arise from the school district itself. Maybe some perspective should be added to this: the kids weren't out lighting things on fire, they were going to perform as a choir-how much more wholesome do you want them to be? Even a choir student needs a break.
News sources cite that choir teacher Segall was unable to be reached for comment (but that may be due to the school district or threatening of her job, who knows).
USA Today cites Willis as stating: "We believe that there are many venues for lunch for a large group of people in the downtown Phoenix area," said Judi Willis, spokesman for the school district. Apparently Willis hasn't deemed it necessary to clarify who "we" might be; since no one else is speaking up, that "we" is a bit hazy. "There could have been a choice that might have been more appropriate, given that it was a school-day event with a school employee in charge." Maybe the Principal was just offended not to have been invited to Hooters.
The Hooters "Restaurant" website promises to provide diners with "a unique, entertaining dining experience ... delivered by attractive, vivacious Hooters Girls," so with all this chaos, hopefully that promise was delivered.
While choir-student parents were aware their kids were slated to perform at Arizona Center on that infamous Hooter day, it is unclear whether they knew that the students would be enjoying 'lunch' at the Hooters Restaurant. Regardless, parents in general can't have been that upset or outraged, considering the only statements to the news seem to come from the high school or its district spokeswoman, Willis, whom certainly seems talkative.
"I know that it was a complete surprise to the principal," Willis said. It seems the high-school parents obviously weren't completely in the dark, or we would have been hearing an uproar on that front also. And apparently Will has done her research, since we know she wants to get to the bottom of this very serious matter: Willis reports that several non-employee adults attended the trip; Willis states she doesn't know if any of those adults "challenged" Segall and her decision.
Now, why didn't someone else think of that? The school could have introduced physical violence into this lunch escapade, with white trash fights going on, about whether or not to "challenge" the act of going to Hooters. That could have been good, Jerry Springer style, and we couldn't have gotten it all over the news. Since parents often play the role of accompanying adults on field trips, this is also a great way to throw any 'blame' onto someone other than the school and school district: by producing the idea that an adult should have "challenged" the act of lunch at Hooters. Now it's definitely someone else's fault-just in case any parent or guardian tries to sue.
Segall has remained teaching in the school district for more than 23 years (though it isnt' appearing quite like loyalty is paying off) and was planning to retire at the end of January before the incident. Hopefully she still gets that retirement package. Segall took the high school choir and strings group to Washington, D.C., in January to perform at the President Obama's "History in the Making: A Dream and a Change Inaugural Ball".
Apparently not even President Obama can save the choir teacher on this one, though Mr. Obama might be chuckling. Someone should have told the rest of the world that Hooters Restaurant is apparently so dangerous.


Paradise Valley High School
3950 E. Bell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85032
United States
33° 38' 32.0856" N, 111° 59' 56.094" W
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