School To Girl: Tone Down National Anthem Singing

Some Claim Singing Style Makes Song Unrecognizable

A Bloomington High School North student has been told to tone down her singing of the national anthem after a recent rendition sparked complaints.

Shai Warfield-Cross, 16, has been performing the anthem at school sporting events for more than a year, 6News' Chance Walser reported.


But after a recent boys' basketball game, school officials said they received complaints from fans who said the sophomore's singing style makes the song difficult to understand.

"The complaints that were alleged were that while the words were not changed in the national anthem, that the tune was unrecognizable as being the national anthem," said Principal Jeffry Henderson, who said he did not attend the game in question.

School officials told Warfield-Cross that she wouldn't be allowed to sing the anthem anymore unless her rendition is closer to the original.

"They gave her basically an ultimatum that she can either stop singing or she can change the way she sings it," said the girl's father, Derrick Cross. "There's no reason for her to change the way she sings the national anthem because it's not disrespectful."

After being reprimanded, Warfield-Cross' gave a performance that the school deemed acceptable, which the family recorded and posted on YouTube. But Cross said it's nearly the same version his daughter sang the night people complained.

"We wanted to put it on YouTube just to let everybody know that she didn't change anything," he said. "They definitely owe her a formal apology, and she deserves it."

Henderson, who called Warfield-Cross a good kid and student with a great voice, said he hopes to set up a meeting with her parents to discuss the issue.