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Principal Vincent Randazzo apologizes for Friday’s incident

The band performs at a competition at Millbrook High School where they won 'Best Music.'

The band performs at a competition at Millbrook High School where they won 'Best Music.'

Courtesy of Briar Creek Photography

Courtesy of Briar Creek Photography

The band performs at a competition at Millbrook High School where they won 'Best Music.'


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Dear Annandale Community:

I want to provide you an update regarding the incident that occurred at last Friday night’s football game.  Annandale High School honored its senior football players, cheerleaders, dance team and marching band members at the game.  My office this week has been investigating the series of events that occurred while the marching band performed at halftime.  I am extremely concerned and dismayed with how this situation was handled by the participants.   We have been following up with all of the parties involved and will take whatever appropriate action is deemed necessary.   Coach Scott has offered to apologize to the band members for his actions, which I believe is a necessary first step.  I did meet with our Marching Atoms following the game and told them how proud the entire Annandale community is of their accomplishments this year and how they embody all that is great about Annandale High School.  At that time, I apologized to the students for the interruption of their halftime performance honoring their seniors.

I want to take this opportunity to again apologize to our band members, band parents and the entire community for this incident. What happened shouldn’t have happened and I regret that it has tarnished what should have been a night of celebration for our seniors.

We learn from our mistakes and we will move past this episode with a better understanding of the importance that mutual respect plays in our interactions with each other – students and staff members.   I am very proud to be the principal of a school that has such talented students supported by a staff that is truly dedicated to  helping our students achieve their full potential.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support of Annandale High School.


Vincent J. Randazzo


61 Responses to “Principal Vincent Randazzo apologizes for Friday’s incident”

  1. Yesenia Blount on November 14th, 2013 7:55 pm


  2. Andrea on November 14th, 2013 8:41 pm

    It’s a good start. I still want to hear from the coach.
    Here’s my latest post about the situation:

  3. Andy on November 14th, 2013 8:49 pm

    Screw the band, no one cares about it. How about we get a winning football team instead, so that we can actually be proud of our school for once?

  4. Elizabeth on November 14th, 2013 9:07 pm

    I think Principle Randazzo’s response was entirely too vague.”Coach Scott has offered to apologize to the band members for his actions, which I believe is a necessary first step.” He should have called Scott’s behavior what it was, juvenile and ridiculous, rather than just expressing dismay over how the situation was handled. Coach Scott demonstrated more than just a lack of respect, he threw a tantrum and Randazzo shouldn’t give him the courtesy of glossing over the immature behavior.

  5. BandDad on November 14th, 2013 9:16 pm

    I’m not from this district, but I would be concerned that this coach wasn’t fired. He endangered the drum major by shaking on his podium. That is not acceptable. Plus, there’s the whole 1-9 record thing…

  6. leslie Walker on November 14th, 2013 9:35 pm

    The actions of this football coach are ridiculous. You need to change the culture at your school. Offering to apologize is just a way to put a band aid on the problem. As the principal you should demand all students and faculty respect one another. The football coach should not only apologize, he should do it at a school assembly in front of the entire student body. I am a band parent from another school. I happen to teach at the school my daughter marches with. This would never ever fly in my district. Before competitions our football team comes to wish our band luck and tell them they are appreciated. I think you have bigger problems than letting some idiot football coach run your teams into the ground. Now he is trying to run the morale of other students into the ground as well. You allowed the coach to intimidate and bully students. You allowed a culture of disrespect to grow within your school. Perhaps the superintendent should take a look at how you are running things.

  7. BandDad2 on November 14th, 2013 9:49 pm

    As a band Dad from another Superior Band in Loudoun County I’m appalled at such behavior. These kids work their tails off to showcase their school in a short amount of time. There’s allot of effort involved not only from the band members but also the numerous volunteers that go into the whole production and all of this is done for the football team.

    I say fire the coach with the 1-9 record for takng his inadequaticies out on the band and hire the band director to take his place to turn that team around.

    Band Dad and former football player!

  8. Jessica on November 14th, 2013 9:51 pm

    The coach should be dismissed no one should want such a stain on their community or school. This is no where near the beginning of what you should be doing for those kids. It was those seniors night, the night they’d been waiting for for four years and it is tarnished by such a terrible incident that as the leader of this school you should be accepting full responsibility for the actions of anyone and anything that happens in your school. Not to mention putting your students in danger, what if one of those drum majors had fallen and broke something or hit their head? Then not only would the coach be liable but your district as well and there would be hundreds of witnesses. The school board needs to handle this in a timely matter. If I were a parent in the community I would be at every board meeting until something is done. Something real not just a vague apology. By letting this go un-punished you are showing your students that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions, and that they can hide behind a pitiful apology.

  9. GOOOOO NOAHHHHHHH on November 14th, 2013 10:37 pm


  10. Lindsey on November 14th, 2013 10:40 pm

    Mr. Randazzo,

    You would do well to have that Coach apologize to the entire community in a press conference. His actions were deplorable! A coach with a 1 WIN SEASON has NO RIGHT to disrupt an STATE AWARD WINNING band during a performance they had every right to perform in based on the rules and regulations of your state. What makes it worse is it was the night to recognize the accomplishments of your community’s 2014 seniors. I’m sure that was a great way to show your students’ families how well you treat them.

  11. Bison Hill on November 14th, 2013 11:09 pm

    People are getting way too distracted by things that have no relevance and need to focus on the things that do matter.

    First, it doesn’t matter if the coach is 1-9 or if the coach is 9-1. There is NO justification for him throwing a childish temper tantrum that endangered one student,s safety and incited the general public to yell at the band. It doesn’t matter that band is state champion or if the were the worst band in the state. Bullying and harassment is never ok.

    Second, if this coach is acting like this in a public forum, how is he treating students when parents aren’t around? I suspect this childish behavior is the tip of the iceberg to more maliciousness that happens in the classroom, athletic field, or locker room.

    Third, I realize this coach has a property right to his contract and due process mus take its course, but the principal does not seem to be handling this in a timely manner if he knew the aggregious behavior happened last week and no actions were taken until today.

    Principal, I appreciate your apology. You have a lot of work to do to make this right.

  12. Betty on November 14th, 2013 11:10 pm

    Here we are trying to stop bullying between kids and we let the adults do it not only to each other but also to kids. What are we really teaching if we deem this behavior acceptable?

  13. Steven Botello on November 14th, 2013 11:31 pm

    Steve from Class of 1977. Unfortunately this behavior by the Head Football Coach for Annandale High reflects on all of us past and present. I played football there during an era for Annandale football where our football team was an absolute powerhouse throughout the region, state and even nationally ranked year after year. That said… there is more to Annandale High School than football and many more students than football players. There appears to be more than enough blame here starting with the Head Football Coach. Whatever disciplinary action(s)… should they be taken and at what level …they need to be swift and then move forward. Show the many who might make light of this that we respect all of our students whether they wear pads, play in a band or just attend school to learn, excel and prepare for their lives.

  14. R. on November 14th, 2013 11:50 pm

    As a former high school and college marching band member, and current coach to a wonderful high school marching band program, this story greatly disturbs me. While an apology is a start, it certainly is NOT enough to account for the actions put forth by the coach. Not only did he risk hurting a student by his actions, but he openly bullied and encouraged others to partake in the bullying. In such a leadership position, we are supposed to encourage our students to be the best they can be. Not throw tantrums to get our way.

    While we all get that it is not right to expect the football team to gain a penalty for the marching band to finish their show, if times were correct and the coach brought the football team back out early, the band still had 4 minutes left to use, and there could have been a more appropriate way to communicate that time had run short and the football team needed the field as quickly as possible. The lack of grace demonstrated by your football coach shows a childlike manner of approaching situations, and is that someone you want responsible for an entire team?

    To the seniors, do not let one night and one man tarnish your entire marching career. Think of all the good memories you’ve had, and cherish them. If you continue your marching career in college, you will make some of your best friends and memories there. Heck, this would even be a good story to tell your new section members in college. To the administration, you really need to review your staffing choices. An apology is not enough. A band director now has to remind his students how great they are, despite their accomplishments to prove it. There needs to be activities implemented to create bonds between the different sports (i.e. band and football) so respect can form and communication can grow stronger.

    Everyone goes to the games to cheer on the same team. The band is on your side. Why fight them? I guarantee your football games would be even less exciting without a band to play the fight song. I come from a high school where half the fans in the stands go to the football games just to see the band. The band increases ticket sales and creates enthusiasm throughout the stadium. Maybe they are a little more important to your game day than you think.

    Keep your head up, band. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.

  15. pat on November 15th, 2013 12:33 am

    Holy cow. That is one CRUMMY apology, principal. Shame on you.

  16. L.J. on November 15th, 2013 12:47 am

    I really hope this is a joke. Honestly, they are human beings, stop treating them like they are less than others. Fire the coach, for obvious reasons, and fire the principal for not taking action sooner. It’s his job to protect, educate, and attempt to make the brightest futures possible for these children, all while treating them with compassion and guidance. All I see is a man that deserves to have his title and license stripped. I do hope you grow up, and learn to set the proper example of equality and rights.

  17. Bob Laird on November 15th, 2013 12:56 am

    Dear Andy above (“screw the band”) –
    Nobody expects you to like the band if that’s not your thing. However, you simply are wrong to believe that this behavior is acceptable toward any group of students. You SHOULD consider being courteous to a group that is already giving you and your school something to be (as you said) PROUD OF even if you would rather it was your football team.
    Pretty sad when a band that just got done winning the Mid-Atlantic Championship (translation, best band from NC up to NJ in their class) can’t get a little bit of courtesy from you, don’t you think?

    Coach should NOT be fired – that’s too easy. He needs to stay and deal with the issue he has created. Bring it full circle.

  18. Frances on November 15th, 2013 12:59 am

    It’s funny how the principal apologizes AFTER this has been made public and there is a community supporting this band. This should have happened the night that it occurred, not once there were thousands of people reacting to the atrocity of this situation. Also, Coach Scott, how sweet of you OFFER to apologize. Forget about offering, JUST DO IT ALREADY. It’s been a week. I think you’ve had plenty of time to come up with something to say to these kids. The principal beat you to it and he’s not the one at fault here. Bad form, Scott. Bad form.

  19. Amy on November 15th, 2013 1:11 am

    If you haven’t been to this band’s website, you should go and check out their show. Their musicianship and beautiful, whole-band sound (not just brass!) – even while marching – are excellent! I hope Mr. Randazzo’s carefully worded apology to this dedicated group of musicians truly is just the beginning, and that he means every word of it. It seems that they have a long way to go if they’re serious about achieving any sort of “mutual respect.” I hope the community will hold him to it!

  20. TRose on November 15th, 2013 1:25 am

    The principal’s apology is inadequate. First and foremost, if he was in attendance he should have taken care of this situation then and there and asked the coaches and football players to leave the field until the band had finished. He allowed this to happen and allowed it to escalate. He did not take decisive action then and he is not taking decisive action now. The coach should not only have to apologize to the band but to the entire school and their families. I think his job should also be called into question, as well as the principal’s for allowing this to happen. By not doing anything in that moment, he condoned the action of his football team and allowed the audience to join in on the harassment of the band. I believe the school board needs to review how he handled the situation that night, as well as, how “his office is investigating the series of events”.

    For the band members and seniors affected by this incident, try to move on and put this behind you. Have a great year!

  21. Rl on November 15th, 2013 1:36 am

    The school is sick and disgusting shame on the principal honestly Marching band is an AMERICAN THING only AMERICANS have marching field shows other countries have only parades for the band where football is played WORLDWIDE. GOOD JOB Principal for seeing how unique marching band is… oh wait….. you didn’t HOW PATHETIC!

  22. Sharon G. on November 15th, 2013 2:11 am

    “I am very proud to be the principal of a school that has such talented students supported by a staff that is truly dedicated to helping our students achieve their full potential.” … well, other than Coach Scott that is!

    There are some great comments here. The principal and others should listen up.

    Good job band!

  23. Marc T on November 15th, 2013 2:40 am

    As a former teacher, I would welcome the coach to join our ranks. A resignation would not be out of line. Maybe another profession would suit him better.Judging by his actions it would appear to be the case.

  24. DR Campbell on November 15th, 2013 5:02 am

    I’ve never heard of your school until I read this article online. What a pathetic first impression!! This principal’s apology is so thin it is clear his leadership fostered an environment where this situation could have occurred. He had to know what kind of a coach he hired. If the coach acted like this in public think of the poison this coach is teaching his students when he thinks no one is watching. Hey principal!!! Aren’t you proud that total strangers think you are a disgrace to your community for #1 hiring such a jerk of a coach #2 fostering an environment of total disrespect between fellow your faculty and their students #3 for issuing a politically correct non-committal apology when it seems clear that you don’t realize the gravity of the situation. Both the band members and the football players are victims in this situation. Your students deserve better role models. Start with firing everyone in athletic leadership that fosters a culture where this behavior could seem plausible. The coaches endangered the band members safety by asking thier players to take the field during the bands performance. The coach endangered a child by shaking a ladder holding a child. Child endangerment is a crime. Asking a minor to endanger another person is contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Failing to protect a child by allowing a dangerous person to remain in a positition of authority is also child endangerment. These are criminal offenses for which a principal should be especially sensitive. If my child were on that ladder I would be filing criminal charges against the coach and civil charges against the school and the coach and the principal.. This situation is way bigger than your pathetic apology and also a PR disaster for your school. I hope your community finds someone to tar and feather over this. These kids deserve to learn respect from those adults who have been given a position of authority in thier lives.

  25. DR Campbell on November 15th, 2013 5:14 am

    Imagine a class action lawsuit for the band students claiming emotional duress. If the court awarded $10,000 in emotional damages per student times 100 members in this band that is a million dollar lawsuit. I don’t think that is an unrealistic claim against the school and the coach. I hope someone at this school wakes up to the gravity of this incident. There’s probably some hungry lawyer in your town who is insulted by this injustice to these kids and who would love to take this on a contingency fee basis.

  26. Beth Carlson on November 15th, 2013 6:08 am

    Principal Randazzo,
    This problem didn’t start with that night. It started months ago and continued because your lack of leadership. By that night, you had chosen, many, many times not to deal with the issue. Your cowardly behavior is not something that students should be exposed to at a time when they are trying to find role models in life. Have the integrity to get counseling to find out why you were not able to address this. In the meantime perhaps it would be best for the students if you considered stepping down from your position of authority.

  27. Wrightsd on November 15th, 2013 6:57 am

    Greetings from Nashville! I’m a football fan. I go to watch a football game. ALL of it. The feel of bleachers, the concession stand, the band, the cheerleaders, the parents around me, and the kids on the field. The whole pageantry of American football. These kids will remember this embarrassing, humiliating treatment for the rest of their lives. A strong leader/principal would have walked on the field put the game in the hands of an assistant coach (throwing the head coach out in front of the crowd), apologized to the kids, and asked the officials to give the kids extra a couple extra minutes to finish. And Monday morning, he should have had a stack of boxes delivered to the locker room by the football team captains to help this bully load up. I’ve never heard of anything so un-classy. Fortunately, it’s gone viral. The band members will hear from a cross-section of the world that the coach and principal are weak in the knees. I imagine that due to public pressure eventually the principal will man up, or the superintendent will put in someone who will. I’d bet the band will get the last laugh…

  28. Barbara Wertz on November 15th, 2013 8:20 am

    It is disappointing that a football coach and an administration would allow such behavior. I am a former Director of Athletics and I am currently a proud Band Mom, and this situation has NEVER occurred at the high school at which I work. If the administration had done its job, there would have been NO QUESTION if there was enough time to honor the seniors and to play the show. If there was not enough time, administration should have changed when the band played its show or asked that its show be shortened as to avoid a delay of game penalty. This is lack of leadership from the top down. As to the behavior of the coach, it is inexcusable and no apology will make up for his inability to be an adult. He should be removed from his position as head coach – and this should be done whether he is 1-9 or 9-1. Adults are here to teach kids. The football field is an extension of the classroom – it is the reason extracurricular activities are part of the educational system. I hope the community rallies around its kids and teaches them that it does not matter if you are an athlete, cheerleader, marching band member, or any other member of an extracurricular group – that you deserve respect as a person and for the activity in which you have worked so hard.

  29. Dudley Orr on November 15th, 2013 8:26 am

    I am A high school principal in another state, so I clearly do not know any limitations imposed by contracts or state regulations, but at my school, that would have been the last day the football coach would have set foot on our field. Shaking the drum major’s stand over a 15 yard penalty would have earned him an immediate dismissal.

  30. rachel Hearn on November 15th, 2013 8:34 am

    All I can say is wow. I’m here in TX and even though we love our football, we respect the other groups that participate during game night, especially the bands… The students deserve better from their leadership & I’m appalled that this was allowed to happen… Shame on this school for robbing the seniors of their special moment, shame on the coaches who instigated this and SHAME on the administration for waiting so long to deliver a pathetic apology. Smoke & mirrors with no substance… The KIDS DESERVE BETTER!

  31. Kevin Faulkner on November 15th, 2013 8:41 am

    From Kentucky: Shame to this school’s leadership for allowing this stupidity to arise. Yes, sports are important, but so are the arts. Another example of boorish behavior from athletic programs that see themselves above everything else. The coach should be dismissed and the principal admonished for allowing these behaviors to come into the open.

  32. Kristina on November 15th, 2013 9:24 am

    As a Alumni and a Marching Atom for 1994-1998 Ia m outraged by this. This should never have happened and in my opinion Coach Scott should be apologizing not the Principal. I am so disappointed that our Marching Band was treated this way. I hope that the Coach is reprimanded and give a formal apology soon.

  33. Randy on November 15th, 2013 10:03 am

    This principal is very weak. Not only should the coach be fired, I believe the principal must go too. He obviously does not control his school and does not generate a positive environment for growth and learning. This is a classic example of bullying and the principal does not have the backbone to stop it.

  34. Di Jay on November 15th, 2013 11:03 am

    As a parent of former athletes and band members, I am appalled at the actions of the school. If that were my child out there being ridiculed on their senior night, I would have been on the field protecting them from the bullies. If that were my child’s coach teaching my son to bully the band, he would be open enrolled to play on another school’s team. I am thankful that where my children attended school, the whole district support the successful Music Department as much as the outstanding Sports equally. On Senior Night for the Band, the whole football team cheers for the band members and their parents. It’s the same on Senior Night for the Football Team. Equal respect. Someone needs to replace the Administration at the school because RESPECT starts at the top and trickles down. Where I come from, that shameful coach would be on the jobless line.

  35. facebook_tamaraneowin on November 15th, 2013 11:16 am

    Marching Atom alum here (1996-2000). An apology is a first step. A re-evaluation of the relationship between AHS and the football program is the next. Certainly a re-evaluation of Scott’s ability to carry out his duties as an educator, considering his attitude, lack of self-control, and losing record (and let’s not kid ourselves; AHS hasn’t been a football powerhouse for 20+ years, and Coach Scott is first and foremost a teacher who GETS to coach football; not a Football Star who does his time in education).

    Principal Randazzo, if you really want to do some good here, find a way to foster community between the Athletic and Music departments. Start now. The idea of a divide between the two is artificial; band kids love football (we’re at EVERY GAME!), and at least in the 90s, there were plenty of football players who were friends with band kids, too.

    You’ve been hearing, in these comments, from lots of folks from Texas (Football Country) talking about the awesome relationship their schools have between their band and the football team. How about you call up some of those Principals for a conference call, and listen to how they’ve helped foster that kind of community in their schools?

    You have an opportunity here to make AHS the kind of school people talk about on the news because of how AWESOME it is. At the moment, you have a school where the coach acts like a child, and the band kids feel their only option is to write a nuclear-level Op-Ed to get your attention on a serious matter (kudos to them for their bravery in sticking their necks out; that took stone cold guts).

    What kind of legacy do you want to leave? This silly, outdated idea that a school has to be a football school OR a music school is ludicrous: lead the way, learn from schools who are doing it right, and make AHS famous for being a great place for all communities.

    We believe in the Atoms. Make us proud.
    -AHS alum and Proud Marching Atom 1996-2000

  36. Rona Colvin on November 15th, 2013 11:22 am

    I am from Tennessee. Reading this article has disturbed me greatly. Coach Scott obviously has a bullying problem. He did it openly to the public for their observation. He bullied the the band member on the ladder. What does he do to his team who has a 1-9 record? He must truly bully them after everybody failure in the locker room. How does this team react on campus? Do they carry that same awful bullying behavior at school and at home? The principal seems to have caved to this bullying by his weak admonishing several days after the fact. This really sickens me. Now I understand the whole “Rick Incognito” mind set. It starts in the high school football locker room with the low esteemed coach. Shameful. I am truly disgusted by this whole incident and response or “lack there of” of the principal.

  37. Brian. on November 15th, 2013 11:33 am

    To the principal, football coach, football team, band, school staff and community at large:

    I have marched in high school and college (even drum major for an FBS team that is looking to bust open the BCS for the second year in a row), and a former music educator. As a student and teacher, and yes even as a fan, I have had to sit through football games that were abysmal at best. I’ve also sat through emotional and overjoyed victories that will be cherished memories forever.

    With all my years of experience, I can say that I have never seen behavior from an ‘adult’ so appalling. There are so many avenues of diplomacy before the ‘necessary’ action is to yell at, and physically intimidate, students. Was there ever a conversation with the referees to acknowledge the situation and find out protocol? Was there ever a conversation with the band director (not his/her staff, students or parents) to find out what the situation looked like? Was there ever a conversation with the principal who, from an earlier article, had prepared the nights activities with those who needed to know?

    And lastly, was there ever a conversation that the football coach had with himself that said, “hey, is this the right way to handle the situation… or should I just completely go postal and act like a toddler in front of this stadium full of people?”

    What has happened here is disgusting, and that includes this apology from the principal. Yes, the coach should be fired. Immediately. And not because his record is bad! Does the football team’s record matter at all with regards to this situation? You are sending the wrong signals to your developing students on what is considered appropriate behavior. They see this kind of behavior on TV all the time with celebrities – I called you a name, I hurt someone (or worse), I didn’t act in a moral and decent manner… but if I just say I’m sorry off of a cue card everything is okay.

    You owe your students better.

    I’ve never been to your school and I don’t know your community and atmosphere, but the general stereotype of the relationship between football players and band members is a stereotype for a reason. It doesn’t happen everywhere, but it does happen. A lot.

    And now you have just told your football players, and your entire school, that it’s perfectly fine to bully and intimidate other students. What is the administration going to do other than hold up that you ‘offered’ to come apologize at some undesignated time?

    You can do better.

    To the band and band parents:
    Have class. Don’t attack the coach, or anyone else. Show grace and respect, and show them the values that can be instilled in young people, regardless of their extra-curricular affiliations, with the proper leadership.

  38. Dennis Murphy on November 15th, 2013 11:34 am

    From AHS class of ’73 grad in West Virginia…

    It’s nice that Coach Scott has “offered” to apologize. Will it be a real apology for immature and dangerous, bullying behavior or one of those “I’m sorry if I offended you” type of speeches?

    I didn’t see any mention about apologies from the football team. From the original article, the Coach was not alone in abusing the band. What about the team?

  39. John Salvino on November 15th, 2013 12:59 pm

    I am also a band dad. My daughter is one of two drum majors for our HS band. Last week was our senior night and although the situation was not as dramatic as Annandale HS’s. The football players took the field before the band was finished. I left the stands and confronted one of the coaches, and was pulled aside by the Assistant principal, also a football coach. He threatened to have me removed from the stadium by the sheriff’s deputy. I told him he should have the football team removed for taking the field and endangering the band players. The confrontation went on for a few minutes. I later had the chance to speak with the HS principal. He also explained that there would be a penalty if the band was on the field after the half time buzzer. However no flag was thrown. What did that have t do with the players being on the field? What the refs would not throw the flag because both the band and the team were on the field. Makes no sense. The only thing that does make sense is that the coaches apologize to the band. It has been a week and I had not heard a thing. I did forward this story to our principal and copied Annandale’s. I am not holding my breath waiting for an apology but one day someone will do the right thing.

  40. Bonnie Long on November 15th, 2013 1:43 pm

    I am from Illinois and a former marching band member. This might seem a simple thing to get past with a lame apology when you were not the party insulted and abused. Obviously, this principal has no idea of decent civil interaction. These hardworking students were physically and verbally abused, if not assaulted, by a person in authority at their school.

    The lack of maturity in the leadership at this school, principal and coaches alike, is appalling and, you know, I live in Illinois, that is saying something with what I have to compare it to.

    Citizen’s of this town should not take this lying down. Clean up your schools for your children’s sake.

  41. Earl on November 15th, 2013 1:46 pm

    “Get the damnable band off the field”? GET THAT COACH OFF THE PROGRAM. He’d be fired here where I live.

  42. Mister Matt on November 15th, 2013 1:55 pm

    There really was no indication that a penalty would have been issued, so that point is moot. Bad coach, bad parents, bad crowd. With that sort of team track record, it’s ironic that the crowd was so eager to get back to the game. In addition to the thin apology, the principal has a responsibility to address the team, the parents and the student body on their behavior. The coach should be suspended without pay at the very least (can’t think of a reason they might want to keep him around anyway).

    Unfortunately for most Southern and rural areas, football is the most highly regarded sector of every high school (usually given priority over academics, much less any sort of arts, performing or otherwise) regardless the quality of the team.

    When I was in high school back in the 80s in Texas, the teams were penalized for taking the field before the halftime clock was up because it was an advantage if one team returned to the field to warm up before the other.

  43. Nisha on November 15th, 2013 2:19 pm

    This bothers me on so many levels. I grew up in the South, and yes, Football(High school and college level) is a lot of people’s second religion. Many, it’s their first. I get that.
    I was in Band in Jr High and High School. I had friends who were cheerleaders and football players. Yes there were some rivalries between the different programs at times, but this is just crazy. Our coaches and directors nipped that stuff in the bud as soon as it happened. That coach should be fired. The principal should be investigated. Responsible leadership doesn’t seem to exist at this school.

  44. Jessica on November 15th, 2013 3:05 pm

    From Oregon:
    This is completely ridiculous! I am a senior and had I not moved three times between my sophomore and senior year I would still be in band, but I am homeschooling. As a senior who was very involved in band, if this EVER happened to me, I would rip that damn coach a new one. That coach doesn’t deserve that team! I feel bad for both the Football players and the band! It was most certainly not the players fault that this happened, but sometimes (like in this instance) authority needs to be questioned.
    To the principal: Shame on you and that coach! The coach should not ‘offer’ an apology! The coach should be required to make a formal apology not only to the band, but to the support and the hard working volunteers behind them! That coach should then be fired! Why would any school want a coach like that on their staff anyways?! At my old school, our football coach was fired for calling one of the players a pussy! To think that this coach gets off punishment free with only an apology?! What are you thinking! Shame on you! Take initiative!

  45. JJStanto on November 15th, 2013 3:24 pm

    This is absolutely awful. Not only is an atrocious event like this allowed to happen, but the principal doesn’t even have the balls to stand up for what’s right and protect his students. That is perhaps one of the most non-committal apologies I have ever read.
    I find myself lucky to have been in a Montana high school with both a great sports program and a great music program that supported each other. Most of the defensive line from the football team even sang in choir! Why can’t people understand the fact that a school can be great at more than one thing? I can’t believe I read a comment on here that said “Screw the band, instead we need to just get a better football program.” That comment is ridiculous. Instead the football team needs a coach who knows how to model excellence. Clearly, it would help the football team to model themselves after the band (who had recently won state titles).
    I won’t even get into all the other issues that are wrong with this incident (legality issues, safety of students, disrespect, bullying, just to name a few). However, the only acceptable course of action to take here is to fire that coach and hire a new one who will really teach the team and community to do what’s right. In addition, if a principal allows such things to happen and will not stand for the safety and well-being of his students, it is very possible the man is also not fit to be their principal. I send out best wishes to those students and their parents, so that they continue to stand up and not let this happen again.

  46. Fred Staffeld on November 15th, 2013 3:37 pm

    I was speechless when I read about this incident in the Washington Post. It seems to me that not only did the football coach exhibit poor judgement but engaged in reckless endangerment of a student: shaking the podium while the drum major conducted? This coach needs to be fired. Any reasonable person can deduct that something is up with his emotional state and he should not be around children. By the way, I checked Youtube videos of the band, fabulous! Your school to take pride in knowing that it has an outstanding music program!

  47. Chris on November 15th, 2013 5:18 pm

    This coach should be strung up by his manhood. Football is a game. That’s it. It is no more important than the kids in the band who also dedicate hours to practice. What a wonderful example this coach is. I bet he beats his wife and treats his kids the same way. Principal Randazzo, you should be more assertive. Your apology is lacking as is your punishment. By the way, this is viral.

  48. Heather on November 15th, 2013 9:31 pm

    I was proud to attend Annandale High School in my sophmore year (74-75) while my father had a tour at the Pentagon. Out of the 13 schools i attended during my pre-college years, Annandale was the best. I got the love of football from my dad, but acquired the love of marching bands from my year at Annandale. The football team was one of the best of the region, but the band was really good, as well. Pep rallies featured the team, the cheerleaders and the band. The drum major that year, Melinda McKenzie , went on to eventually become the Band Director at Woodson HS in Fairfax, VA – where my daughter spent all four years as a Marching Cavalier. Her best friends were all band members and they all remain close to this day.

    The principal at the time was Mr. Finch. We all had special names for him, but i can tell you that he would have never let this happen. If there was a similar situation under his leadership, the coach would have been ejected and quickly dismissed, and those jumping on the band wagon (coaches, parents, students…) would have been removed from the stadium. If there had been concerns about the length of time for halftime activities, it would have been discussed to ensure there was an agreement to shorten the program or lengthen the halftime time allottment. This would never have occurred. Homecoming comes to mind as a halftime show that often runs long. Can you imagine your daughter, in the homecoming court, being screamed at by a football coach because the show may run long?

    The danger that this coach put the drum major by shaking the stand, in unexcusable.

    The only action worthy of this infraction, is the swift dismissal of the coach. And because of the poor leadership that this principal has shown, his removal is warranted.

    A child learns nothing if he says he is ‘SORRY’ and continues the same behavior. Sorry is not enough.

  49. Gina on November 16th, 2013 12:43 am

    Sad commentary on the mentality of most athletic departments. Get a grip, football isn’t as important as you think it is. Band is actually an intellectual pursuit, and at least band kids don’t beat their heads into dementia. Perhaps that happened to the coach?? What else could explain it?

  50. Ryan on November 16th, 2013 8:43 pm

    I’m not from this school, but this story has come all the way to Idaho and more, i believe that this apology should only be the start, and personal apology from the coaches and any players who went onto the field during performance should be written and put into the paper. they embarrassed the whole band publicly, so they should be willing to embarrass themselves because of the mistake they made. It was childish to kick the band because of a “Penalty”. i have been in marching band 3 years, and if this would have happened at my school, more than 1 apology would have been made. I feel bad for all the kids on the field that night and for their director and drum major(s), it was wrong, rude, disrespectful and i would not tolerate it if it happened here. i wish the band the best and that they have a great rest of the year.

  51. Darrell Curtis on November 17th, 2013 1:12 am

    Dear Mr. Randazzo,

    I believe you did all you could to insure all the events at the game ran smoothly and in accordance of the rules of the sport and policies of the school. I understand from the online article the band was there to support their school and team, and entertain fans during the halftime festivities. Without the game, there would be no reason for the show, even though bands have made the show in to a competition of it’s own, just as cheerleaders have made their routines into a competitive activity. Even so, purpose of both activities is to support others. Bands and cheer squads work long hours and sacrifice in the support of other students and their activities. They know that and accept that and realize that it is no about them. It is a true shame when they are abused by those they have worked so hard and sacrificed to support. Your football coach, team, and community owe the band students and apology and the football coach should have at the very least, a formal letter of reprimand placed in his personnel file. Perhaps that will help him keep things in perspective and make him more appreciative of the support he and his team receive form such an outstanding group of student musicians.

  52. Mike on November 17th, 2013 2:15 pm

    Hopefully the band refuses to play for this awful football team next year

  53. Anon on November 17th, 2013 8:33 pm

    Once again, jocks are living up to their stereotype – rude, disrespectful and utterly lacking respect. I am totally appalled by this apology as well. Obviously the principal and this spineless coach have no interest in promoting values of respect and empathy in their students. There should be consequences, but of course the football players “jock” status leaves them exempt. Shame on you Vincent, you lack the skills needed for your position. You are a disappointment to school administrators. I would feel disappointed for the football coach – but given the fact that he is unable to find a position other than a high school athletic coach, I’m guessing his life is already enough of a disappointment. He doesn’t really need more from me.

  54. Shane on November 18th, 2013 12:05 am

    WOW! just WOW! … that was the most political answer I have ever heard! What the band does is no less important that what the football team does. Honestly, without musicians our lives would be bland. Every movie and TV show you watch has music in the background! Have you ever considered that a band is about raising up musicians? Without musically talented people there is no radio! Sports are only a small portion of society, but music spans throughout all parts of our lives. When is the first time you have gone a day without hearing, or thinking about any type of music? Never! Even the way we change the pitch of our voice when talking can be considered music because it is the basis of singing! Next time you think a musician is any less important than a football player think again. We are equal and that is how we should be treated. Lets face it life would be boring without game night, but it would be really unbearable without music! Imagine how boring television would be if there were no background music and all the show was about was voices, and also imagine if everyone talked in monotone? The changing of pitch is the fundamental basis of music! I appreciate the football players who work hard to try and bring home that winning score, but I also appreciate the band students who work equally as hard, yes EQUALLY as hard, to bring home a first place trophy. No person is better than the next. The only thing that makes a person beneath another is when that person feels that they are superior. Telling yourself your better than everyone else is the biggest lie a person can tell and it only puts them that much farther beneath everyone else. Two minutes is the least the football team could give in respect since the band would be expected to stay even if the game ran two hours later than expected, AND the band has to get up early the next morning for a competition! If that isn’t equal to the effort of a football player’s hard work than society doesn’t know the meaning of hard work anymore! I appreciate you band kids and what you do and had i been there the coaches would have gotten a piece of my mind for treating you all like dirt as they did!

  55. Scott on November 18th, 2013 11:51 am

    Fire the coach. His behavior was inexcusable.

  56. Nemi on November 18th, 2013 4:58 pm

    I think the coach should have been suspended. Where I am from shaking the podium of one of the drum majors could get you in jail! What if the kid fell and it caused serious damage, how would they apologize then! The coach acted like a baby! They had every right to finsh there show! At my school our football is not allowed out of our lockers rooms until we have finished our show, because something,like this happened!!! The coach should be SOOOOO lucky no files where charged against him!!! He would like to apologize! How rude, NO both teams deserve to be there! So one can wait for the other, that’s how it works! I hope all coaches and band people see this as a lesson to not act like a baby when you don’t get your way. Any coach at our school would have been fired on the spot!

  57. CJ Sidener on November 19th, 2013 1:53 pm

    First off, I am upset, and angry. Coach Scott, shouldn’t have done that in the first place. If I was principal I would have him fired from Football and AHS. I haven’t even seen an apology from him at all. The school needs to get its act together. As an Orchestra alumni I support the band (because the Band is awesome). I also support the Orchestra.

    I expect better from a good school!

    Annandale High School Alum 2007

  58. mimi on November 20th, 2013 11:35 am

    Too little too late! Downright disgracefull! Band is about hard work and commitment! Maybe they should teach that to the coaching staff or get a new staff that the entire school could look up to!

  59. Jasmina on November 20th, 2013 9:12 pm

    As a senior member of the Northwest Marching Band, I actually had the chance to compete against their band (in the 3 Open division) as well as meet and chat with a few of the band members at States. I’m not going to lie- my school was extremely jealous that they won first, but we knew that it was well-deserved. To the Marching Atoms: you’ve got a friend in the Marching Jags.

  60. beth jones on November 21st, 2013 6:17 am

    I first want to say I am very, very sorry this happened to the band on the final night of their marchinh season, and especially rto the Seniors – that is inexcusable. Under no circumstances would a football team be made to cut their oeformance short, yet your 6- minute half-time show is not given the same respect? That is just completely wrong. You have my admiration and congratulations on an incredible season!

    Secondly, it is obvious that Coach Scott and Principal Randazzo have failed to meet the standards for their respective positions. They have been entrusted to guide, care for and set an example for the children in their district… the students hat were yelled at, disrespected, endangered, and who still haven’t received an adequate apology. Throwing public tantrums, or endorsing those who do so, is NOT the behavior we send our children to taxpayer-funded schools in order to learn. No apology will be sincere at this late date, and no actions will restore the trust that was broken between the students and administration when this disrspectful behavior was allowed and condoned by the principal. Teach the children well – indeed!

  61. Fiddledee on November 23rd, 2013 4:42 pm

    I am an alumni of a Southeastern high school, and marched for 4 years in college for a major SEC football team that won a national championship. I was with the team when we had a horrible few years as well. Every game day the fans and football team showed their appreciation for us. The cheers of the crowd as the band first took the field in a pregame show equaled the level of noise when the football team first took the field. In a deeply football-religious area of the Deep South, this type of atmosphere exists. In high school when my band got straight superiors at a competition, it was announced during the football game and the band applauded. Surely if this vibrant cooperation and positive atmosphere can be achieved on a large scale with hundreds of thousands of fans, your single high school can achieve the same unity and optimism. And an apology just is not going to cut it.

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Principal Vincent Randazzo apologizes for Friday’s incident