Marching band members at Brookwood High School in Snellville near Atlanta, Georgia, are facing disciplinary action this week after spelling out a racial slur instead of their team’s name during a halftime show at a Friday football game.
Principal Bo Ford sent a letter to parents over the weekend apologizing for the “completely unacceptable, racial term,” CBS 46 reported Monday.
“For those of you who have attended our games, you may have noticed that the sousaphones (a brass instrument) wear covers in the stands to show school spirit,” Ford wrote in the letter. “The covers spell out BRONCOS and some of them feature our Bronco mascot.”
Ford explained that the covers shouldn’t have been on the instruments during the performance. He also said the band director wasn’t on the field with performers that night so rules weren’t followed.
“That said, last night during what was already a very busy senior night, we experienced several personnel challenges that resulted in our band director not being on the field when the band took the field,” Ford continued. “With that in mind, when the sousaphone players took the field, they did not follow band rules and normal practice, and instead, they left the covers on their instruments.”
“Not only was the appearance of this term during our halftime show hurtful and disrespectful to audience members, it also was disappointing, as it does not reflect the standards and beliefs of our school and community,” his statement continued.
A spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Schools confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that an investigation has been opened into the racist prank.
Some parents who attended Friday’s game said they were outraged by what they saw.
“You’re bold enough on senior night, that means your parents and grandparents are there … you’re bold enough to spell those words, and stay long enough to have everyone take pictures?” mother Shawn Myers told WAGA. “That’s not right.”
“Haven’t heard it in years, it’s to belittle black people, it’s an insult,” Myers said of the “c–n” term. “It’s just like saying the N-word, but this is worse because it’s coming from students at a public high school.”