A Northern Virginia high school football coach is set to apologize after band members say he kicked them off the field mid-performance last Friday night.
The trouble began as the Annandale High School band was performing during half time of senior night. With four minutes left on the clock, the school's football coach, Michael Scott, and the rest of the football team returned to the field.
"Coach Scott kind of got angry and started saying, 'Get off the field! Get off the field!'" Annandale High School band member Megan Ryan said.
She said it wasn't long before Scott then walked onto the field as the band was performing and continued to yell. The band's drum major, Douglas Nguyen, Jr. said it didn't take long for the situation to escalate.
"All of a sudden I'm looking around and I feel something shaking my podium and I see it's Coach Scott," Nguyen said.
Band members say many of the parents chimed in for the performance to end early, which it did. The band -- which won a state championship this year -- completed their performance once the game was finished.
"I was really disappointed that we couldn't finish our senior night show," James Barker said. "I just felt like… Coach Scott just took away our last big moment for high school for marching band."
The football team lost that evening 55-14, and finished the season with only one win.
Band members tell News4 they don't hold any grudges against their peers on the team, but say the situation is indicative of how the arts are treated compared with sports.
Although no charges were pressed, the incident remains under investigation and there could be disciplinary action.
Annandale High School Principal Vincent Randazze sent an apology to parents Thursday and told News4 Scott will be apologizing as well.
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.
The story was first published in an editorial in Annandale High School's newspaper earlier this week.