Georgia high school band spells out racist slur ‘coon’ during performance

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Parents at a Gwinnett County, Georgia, high school are up in arms after marching band members took the field and spelled out a racist slur.

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Now, the principal of Brookwood High School is apologizing and has launched an investigation to find out how the half-time show went left and resulted in band members spelling out “COON” instead of the teams’ name ‘BRONCOS’, FOX 5 reports.

“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,” said Principal Bo Ford in a letter sent to parents and the community Saturday. He apologized, calling the display a “completely unacceptable, racial term.”

The school has now launched an investigation into the school’s halftime procedures, the principal said. It was revealed that the band director had stepped away because of a personal issue and wasn’t on the field. Students playing the sousaphone were reportedly behind the racist display.

“For those of you who have attended our games, you may have noticed that the sousaphones wear covers in the stands to show school spirit,” Ford said. “The covers spell out ‘BRONCOS’ and some of them feature our Bronco mascot.

“Our band does not wear these covers on the field because they shield the sound and because, during the halftime show, our band members move around the field and do not stand in the same order as they do in the stands.”

“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,” the principal said.

It still doesn’t quite explain why the students could spell out the derogatory term.

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Parents are outraged and calling for disciplinary actions against the students involved.

“You’re bold enough on senior night, that means your parents your grandparents are there … you’re bold enough to spell those words, and stay there long enough to have everyone take pictures?” said mother Shawn Myers to Fox 5.

Her son is a freshman in the band.

“I don’t even know if this is a black white issue, because my understanding is a couple of them were not white, so they just did something that was wrong and they need to be held accountable,” Myers said. “I want them expelled. I will not stop until these students are expelled. They do not need to be back in that school until they learn that everyone is there for the same reason – regardless of color – to get an education.”