Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia’s marching band, whose instrument covers spell out their mascot “Broncos,” rearranged them to spell a racial slur that once again shocked fans and had band directors under the microscope.
On Friday, some of the band members arranged the instrument covers to spell out a derogatory term for African-Americans, “c–n.” Letters went to parents apologizing for the incident.
In his letter, Principal Bo Ford described the action as “hurtful, disrespectful and disappointing.” Ford went on to say that the display was a “completely unacceptable, racial term.”
An investigation into the incident found that three seniors planned and executed the stunt. An additional student, who carried one of the letters spelling out the racial slur, appears to have agreed to go along with it “at the last minute,” Ford said.
Two other students did not plan the prank, but provided false information to administrators.
“In our interviews, the students two of whom are African-American, one of whom is Asian, and one of whom is Hispanic indicated that this was intended as a joke, one that they thought would be funny,” Ford said in the letter. “However, they acknowledged that they knew this racist term was not acceptable.”
Michelle Muoz Montes, the mother of the student who wore the letter “C,” was not amused.
“I am severely disappointed with him, all of them,” Montes told WSB-TV. “With everything that is going on right now in our nation and the state, with the election itself.”
She continued, “I don’t know where he got it from, or where they got it from or why they thought it would be really funny. It’s harmful, hateful, and very regretful. Let’s make it a teachable moment and grow from it.”
Marlyn Tillman, a Gwinnett County parent and founder of Gwinnett SToPP, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the incident shows there’s “a need for conversations about race.”
“What propelled this” Tillman told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “What lack of self-worth must these students have to do this”
Penny Poole, president of the Gwinnett NAACP chapter said: “What happened here is a microcosm of what’s going on nationally. These kids created a hostile environment and for [the students] to be so bold and brazen and unashamed is telling. They need to really know it won’t be tolerated.”
The six students involved will be disciplined with punishments “commensurate with their involvement in this incident,” Ford said.