I'll do my best to explain a complex situation concisely. I hope I'm not overreaching the intent of this forum. I am not asking for "what do we do?" rather for different ways to look at this to help us in our decision. Actually, this could be altered as an exercise ethical dilemma for military service.... DW is to have significant surgery early next year. Based on past history she will need a lot of help from DS (AFA Candidate), DD (15 y.o.), and me for a couple of months. DS is in band, concert season coming up. Director is asking more time than in the past, including weekends, which I work. DS has been asked to help upgrade a competition robot for the national competition in Feb. which he has done before. We went to the school about the time issue, brought up that DS has more than satisfied his commitment to band, and asked about taking him out of band class, substituting a dual credit class or indep. study. All they had to say was that "We will have to notify The Academy that he quit band." No explanation of circumstances, replacements, etc. There is more 'stuff' but it will sound like excuses/whining. Will AFA care?? Will they see or consider a letter from us clarifying the circumstances?? Our first plan is to sit down with the band director--who has a rep. for being unwilling to bend. We will outline the situation and ask for grace on the weekend commitments. Still, we will need a backup plan that will not hurt his chances. DS is devoted to his (hopeful) future at the AFA and in service beyond. We do not want to jeopardize his future in any way by making a decision that is good for us but becomes bad for him. What other perspectives can y'all offer up that we are missing?? Other info: LOTS of students, including many of the 'stars' have left band for various reasons, mostly related to the dramatically increased time demands and the fact that they are not looking at band as a career. The increased demands from the new director are hurting other, more pertinent, activities. The band is suffering and does not want to lose more good people so are making it harder to leave, more so since there are not many good people coming in from underclasses. The school is being sued by the former director for racial discrimination (complex!!!). It seems they are covering their rear and making it tougher on the kids to leave band so the school is more defensible.