Racial slur shown during recent football halftime show

During a Nov. 2 football game against Brookwood High School, Lakeside High School athletes showed better sportsmanship than some students from the Gwinnett County school.

Four members of the Brookwood band, who play the sousaphone, spelled the word “coon” with their instrument covers at the Gwinnett County school. The covers normally spell “Broncos,” Brookwood’s school mascot.

“DeKalb County School District is disappointed that students and community members from both schools were exposed to insensitive, divisive language,” DCSD officials said in an email statement to The Champion Newspaper.

“Racial slurs only serve to divide our communities. We are confident Brookwood High School and the Gwinnett County Public Schools are taking the proper steps to remedy this unfortunate situation.”

Brookwood’s “Senior Night” was held the same night of the incident, causing the band director to be off the field when the halftime performance started, said Brookwood Principal William Bo Ford Jr.

Ford sent a letter to parents, students and community members Nov. 3 assuring the public that the school would get to the bottom of the issue.
Ford wrote on Nov. 5 that after interviews with students, “three seniors intentionally planned and executed the use of the sousaphone covers to spell out a completely unacceptable, racist term. The fourth student, a junior, who carried one of the letters spelling out the word, appears to have gone along with the plan at the last minute. However, all four of the students knew what was going to happen and knew what they were spelling out during the halftime show.”

“As you all know, this is not who we are,” Ford said. “Brookwood is proud to be an inclusive and accepting school community. This is a teachable moment for all of us, and students need to be aware that their actions and words have consequences.” 

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