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Daughter of Wausau East Band teacher speaks out

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Wausau East

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Katie Perkins will walk through the doors of Wausau East High School on Sunday to graduate, but she wants her dad there.

Not just to offer fatherly support, but as her band director.

Perkins always knew she wanted to be a band kid.

"I was as young as four months when my dad started taking me to pep band, and he's out there conducting and percussion section traded me around," said Perkins. 

Her father, Robert Perkins, has taught band for years at Wausau East, and music is in their blood. 

"The most special part, and the dream I've always had has been being with him, because I love my parents and I love my dad especially so when I was younger, knowing that yeah I'm gonna be in his band that's awesome and I was always looking forward to it," said Perkins. 

But now, she said that dream was ripped away, just a month before her high school graduation.

"I just want my dad back," she said. 

Rob Perkins was placed on leave last month following allegations claiming he used racial and sexist slurs in the classroom. 

After an internal investigation, he was allowed to return to teaching briefly before he was once again removed. 

"We haven't been told anything from the district, not when he left the first time, not when he came back and not when he left again, we still don't technically know why he's gone," said Katie Perkins. 

We asked the district for a comment, but they didn't respond and have not issued a statement. 

We've learned from documents that the district said its students were 'let down' by district staff. 

Katie said the students are not only let down, but left in the dark. 

"We've just been asked to sit quiet and wait, and wait and wait and wait and wait, and that's all we've been told to do," she said. 

She said the band room was always a safe place for everyone, and that was in part because of her dad. 

"He supports you and we all treat each other like family, and family takes care of each other, so if someone's having a problem and they're having a problem with dad specifically then they'll just go and talk to him," she said. 

And having to finish her senior year without her rock to lean on, is devastating. 

"I want my dad at graduation, as my director, and I want my dad to be happy again," said Katie Perkins. 

While the school district has refused to comment on the allegations, we do knw the Wausau School Board has hired an attorney for an investigation and the state Department of Public Instruction has also launched its own investigation. 

It is unknown whether the involve this case. 

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