Some band members assembled themselves to spell out the word "coon" using instrument covers that are normally used to spell "broncos," the school mascot.
In a letter to students, parents and the community Brookwood Principal William Bo Ford Jr. apologized for the “completely unacceptable, racial term. “
A concerned resident sent a photo and a copy of the letter to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ford explained how the incident took place:
“For those of you who have attended our games, you may have noticed that the sousaphones (a brass instrument similar to a tuba) wear covers in the stands to show school spirit. 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. 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.
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.”
In the apology, Ford said, the event is under investigation there will be “disciplinary action with the students involved.”
“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. We are a very inclusive community and we care about all of our students. We are concerned that this situation occurred and are committed to taking steps to ensure this does not happen again.”
Ford didn’t mention if there will be any actions taken against school staff but said halftime procedures will be reviewed.
Gwinnett County Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said she doesn’t anticipate any action with staff and couldn’t “speculate as to discipline for students as the school’s investigation is still ongoing.”
WSBTV.com contributed to this report.