Choir director takes students to Hooters
Dec. 17, 2009, 2:27PM
It was a surprise to the principal
PHOENIX — An Arizona music teacher whose students performed at a presidential inauguration event is on administrative leave after taking 40 high school students to a Hooters restaurant.
Paradise Valley school district spokeswoman Judi Willis says choir director Mary Segall accompanied the students to a performance in downtown Phoenix last week, and during the outing, they ate lunch at Hooters.
Willis says Segall explained that the restaurant, known for its waitresses' somewhat revealing attire, was the only place that could accommodate a group of that size. But district officials believe there were other options for lunch in the area.
Segall could not be reached for comment.
The teacher plans on retiring in January, and Willis says she does not know if she'll return before then.
LINK TO VIDEO AND PHOTO:
Teacher who took students to Hooters is put on leave
Dec 17, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
A Paradise Valley High School music teacher whose students performed at one of President's Barack Obama inauguration events has been put on administrative leave after taking 40 students to eat at a Hooters in downtown Phoenix.
Mary Segall, a choir director at the northeast Phoenix school, accompanied choral students at a performance at Arizona Center last week. While there, the students ate lunch at the Hooters restaurant, said Judi Willis, spokeswoman for the district.
Segall told her principal that the restaurant, known for its busty waitresses in tight shirts and orange shorts, was the only place that could accommodate a group of that size. She could not be reached for comment.
"We believe that there are many venues for lunch for a large group of people in the downtown Phoenix area," Willis said. "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."Mike McNeill, vice president of marketing for Hooters USA, said he was unfamiliar with the incident and could not comment.
According to Hooters' Web site, each restaurant aims to provide diners with "a unique, entertaining dining experience . . . delivered by attractive, vivacious Hooters Girls."
Although parents knew students would be performing at Arizona Center, it is unclear whether they knew that their children would eat lunch at the restaurant.
"I know that it was a complete surprise to the principal," Willis said.
Several adults who aren't employees of the district accompanied Segall and the students on the trip. Willis said she does not know whether the adults challenged Segall's decision.
Segall, who has taught in the district for more than 23 years, was planning to retire at the end of January before the incident. She took the school choir and strings group to Washington, D.C., in January to perform at the "History in the Making: A Dream and a Change Inaugural Ball."
Willis said she does not know whether Segall will return to the district before she retires.
"I am sure that someone is covering her classes," she said.