Wal-Mart apologized for not allowing an elementary school chorus to perform inside its Pembroke Pines, Fla., store on the anniversary of 9/11.
Students from Coconut Palm Elementary in Miramar, Fla.—many donning red, white and blue—showed up as they had arranged at the Wal-Mart on Wednesday to sing "God Bless America." However, when they got there, a manager who was not involved in the initial discussions told them to leave. She said they were a liability, CBS Miami reports.
"I just thought that it just wasn't right, and I just thought she should have let it go because it was Sept. 11th," student Adriana DiSciascio told the television station.
So in an attempt to "right a wrong" Coconut Palm Elementary Principal Terri Thelmas said school staff and parents took the young singers outside, where they gathered under a flag that was at half-staff, WPTV reports.
The chorus of 75 performed their rendition of "God Bless America," which ended in rousing applause.
But as the group was leaving, police arrived, apparently in response to a report of a "flash mob situation," WPTV reports. "That's when things got ugly," CBS Local Miami reports, noting the manager had asked local law enforcement to remove them from the property.
A police officer at the scene said they were required to respond after Wal-Mart called in a complaint. However, no action was taken as the children were already in their cars when police officers arrived, according to WPTV.
Michael DiSciascio, Adriana's father, said of the incident, "The wind was taken out of everybody's sails—from the parents to the teachers to the kids."
Wal-Mart was quick to issue an apology.
"We regret this happened and apologize to the students, parents and the school for this experience," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said in a statement "Unfortunately, this was a situation of miscommunication, and it should have been handled differently."
She added the store is inviting the kids back "to help honor the victims and fallen heroes."
Principal Thelmas told WPTV the children most likely will have an easier time than their parents in forgiving Wal-Mart.