The incident took place on Friday, moments after players from Brookwood and Lakeside High School ran off the field after the second quarter of the game wrapped up. Once band members took to the field, jaws dropped as band members assembled themselves in such a fashion that they spelled out the slur "c**n."
The band reportedly played their entire routine without any interruption from school administrators.
— K & J Athletics (@kandjathletics) November 4, 2018
In a letter sent to parents that night, Brookwood Principal William Ford indicated that the mishap was the result of personnel challenges that prevented the band director from being on the field and students failing to remove their instrument covers, which are usually used to spell out "Broncos," the school mascot, ahead of their scheduled performances.
"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," Ford explained. "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."
"Unfortunately, as they performed and moved around the field, the letters on the instruments aligned to spell a completely unacceptable, racial term," he added, stressing that the incident was "hurtful and disrespectful."
Although Ford did not indicate whether any action will be taken against any school officials, he did state that halftime procedures would be reviewed and that disciplinary action would be taken against offending band members. As the investigation into the matter is still ongoing, it's presently unclear what exactly will happen to the teenage musicians.
Shawn Myers, whose son plays in the Brookwood marching band, told local Atlanta news station Fox 5 that she was shocked when she took notice of the band's formation.
"The mascot is a horse, it's a bronco, and the ‘B' and the ‘R' were nowhere near," Myers said. "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."
"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," she added.
Myers isn't the only upset Brookwood parent. Other parents who spoke with the station expressed their outrage, calling the move "hurtful and racist."
Netizens have also spoken out, some joining in Myers' call to have the students expelled.
— Chris Smith (@ChrisIn08) November 5, 2018
— jStew (@Med_School) November 5, 2018
— Branden Michael Manuel (@iTweetBrando) November 5, 2018
— Alex Hootsell (@alex_hootsell) November 5, 2018
This incident comes weeks after the marching band for Mississippi's Forest Hill High School was barred from participating at competitions and performing on the field at remaining football games after their October 5 halftime show involved musicians pointing fake guns at students dressed as police officers.
— Michael Moates (@freedom_moates) October 7, 2018
According to the Clarion Ledger, the Forest Hill performance took place days after two officers from the Brookhaven Police Department were killed. The skit was meant to recreate a scene from the Denzel Washington-led 2002 film, "John Q."