Zoey Bowerman is a senior on the Charlotte High School color guard. She was on the field as video shows the Charlotte band was getting ready to perform, when the Eaton Rapids football team was warming up. Bowerman says, she can’t believe what was said to her fellow band mates.
“Mostly I just heard it. They were basically calling us names and saying we look dumb.”
Apparently, the band had set up a little too close to Eaton Rapids during warmups, but Bowerman says, that doesn’t give them the right to swear, and say the things they said did.
“They were saying things like, what is that? And I don’t know what it is. They were calling him an it, and a thing.
Bowerman says, the incident has affected the self-confidence of some of her bandmates.
“That’s really not ok because our band is mostly about picking people up, and we are a huge family, and most of us really all we wanted to do was we wanted to say something, but we couldn’t.”
The schools released a joint statement. In it, they say there were errors from both schools. Calling it a lack of communication between the coaches, athletic directors, and the band. They say, moving forward they will make sure there are clear expectations for all activities, and interactions.
Bowerman says, her and her team just want an apology.
“It just isn’t ok . This has never happened before, and that’s not an ok reaction just because we took part of your field.
The schools also say they are committed to actively working on improving relationships between the schools and the community. Below is a full statement from the two schools.
Dear Eaton Rapids and Charlotte Community Members:
As you might know, a number of unfortunate things happened at our schools’ football game last Friday in Charlotte. Those events do not shine positively on our schools and communities. We know that our rivalry is long standing and rich, and that pride on both sides runs deep. That is what makes for a great rivalry. That is also what can at times cause emotions to run high and result in events that we all look
back on with regret or anger, even if we have very different perspectives.
Over the last few days, we have spoken with many adults involved in the situations from Friday, and all of those responsible for the planning and expectations at the game. We have found that there were errors made by both schools. We do not believe that any party planned any of these problems, but that they were the result of honest misunderstandings and lack of communication between our schools, the athletic directors, the CHS Marching Band, and the coaches. In the end, as the building leaders of our high schools, we both accept responsibility for the events of the evening, and for making sure that these problems do not repeat.
To be clear, we do not excuse the behaviors of those involved. Planned or not, many of the actions Friday were inappropriate and contrary to the type of positive, healthy, sportsmanlike rivalry we want for our districts. In order to move in that direction, we are doing the following for all of our competitions:
1. Making sure that the home team publishes to the visiting team, through the Athletic Directors, very clear expectations for pre-game and post-game activities and interactions.
2. Committing to abide by those published expectations.
3. Committing to have both Athletic Directors, and other administrators as necessary depending on the number of attendees, immediately present at times of transition to monitor that participants are adhering to the expectations.
Additionally, and as importantly, we have begun conversations that we believe will lead to us getting student leaders from our schools together to develop some activities that can help us all promote a healthier relationship between our districts. We are both looking forward to involving our students in conversations about the real impact they can have on our communities.
We stand committed to improving this situation, and we appreciate knowing that each of our communities want this and will actively work for and support improved relationships.
With regrets, and hope,
Principal, Eaton Rapids High School
Principal, Charlotte High School