Georgia High School Will Punish Students for Band's Racial Slur

GettyImages-51650271 (1)
[File photo] A football on the field during a game on September 11, 2004, at Clemson Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The six students who spelled out a racial slur during the halftime performance of a high school football game in Gwinnett County, Georgia, last week are set to be disciplined.

The four-letter racial epithet was spelled out by four members of the Brookwood High School marching band, who used their instrument covers to pull off the stunt while on the pitch.

Brass instruments used by the band have covers that spell out the name of the Snellville-based school's sports team, the Broncos.

The covers are used while the band is in the stands but they are not normally worn on the field, as they muffle the sound. Covers also tend to be removed to avoid the risk of misspelling a word, given band members are not always standing in sequence.

Four covers, however, found their way onto the turf at halftime of Brookwood's game against Lakeside High School on November 2 and were arranged to spell the racial slur.

The four-letter slur appeared during Brookwood High School marching band's performance at halftime. Twitter/@kandjathletics

The band maintained its formation long enough to allow stunned fans to capture the stunt on camera. These photos were then shared on social media.

The four perpetrators, along with two students who reportedly lied to school officials about the prank, are now facing disciplinary action.

"They thought it would be funny, they thought it was a joke," district spokesman Bernard Watson said in a statement, as reported by the Gwinett Daily Post.

"But it's not a joke and it's not funny. It was unacceptable, inappropriate and hurtful, and it doesn't reflect the values of the school or its community."

Watson, however, did not elaborate on the punishment the students will face but explained the investigation was close to being concluded and stressed the school was disappointed by the students' behavior.

"We're disappointed by the decision-making and actions of those four students," he added.

"There's nothing funny about it. Their actions not only reflect poorly on them, but also the school and the community."

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it has since emerged the four students who pulled off the prank are all people of color—two black, one Asian and one Hispanic.

"What happened here is a microcosm of what's going on nationally," Penny Poole, the president of the Gwinnett branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was quoted as saying by the paper.

In an email addressed to the parents the day after the incident, school principal Bo Ford, said he hoped the event would not tarnish the school's reputation.

"I hope that our program, school, and community will not be judged based on the unfortunate decisions and actions of a few developing teenagers," he wrote.

He also urged parents to rally behind the students and staff leaders of the band, who were unaware the prank had been planned.

Watson also dismissed rumors the band director and its other members would face action, stating the band "will be on the field on Friday."