SNELLVILLE, GA — A Snellville High School Principal is apologizing after the school’s marching band spelled out a racial slur while performing during a halftime show at Friday night’s game.

Brookwood High School Principal William Bo Ford sent a letter to parents, students and the community saying the students are facing disciplinary action.

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Four band members used their instrument covers on their sousaphones to spell out a four-letter racial slur. The covers are usually on the instruments while the band is in the stands and spell “BRONCOS,” the school’s mascot. Students were in position long enough for people to get photos which were posted on social media.

In Ford’s apology letter, he said the instrument covers are not typically worn onto the field during performances because, when the band marches, the letters end up being out of order. Ford said the school’s band director was not on the field with the band at halftime due to a personnel challenges.

“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,” Ford wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, as they performed and moved around the field, the letters on the instruments aligned to spell a completely unacceptable, racial term.”

Here is the letter in its entirety:

Dear Brookwood students, parents/guardians and community,

I am writing this letter to share my concern and to apologize for an incident that occurred during our band’s halftime show on Friday night. For those of you who have attended our game, you may have noticed that the sousaphones 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 personal challenges that resulted in our band director not being on the field when the band took the field. With that in mind, when the sousaphones players took the field, they did not follow band rules and normal practice, and instead, they left the covers on their instruments. Unfortunately, as they performed and moved around the field the letters on the instruments aligned to spell a completely unacceptable, racial term. 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 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 doesn’t happen again. In addition to reviewing our halftime procedures, we will also be taking disciplinary action with the students involved.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and support and I encourage you to reach out to me if you have additional concerns,

William Bo Ford

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