Tiger Band, admin address student section harrassment

Conflict includes property vandalism, racial slurs


(GEORGE HUGHES/EYE OF THE TIGER) Junior Eric Peterson plays during the football game on Friday. Principal David Byrd said the student section and band should remember “we are all on the same team.”


During the Homecoming game, a group of students in the Tiger Cage band allegedly harassed several band students, including breaking a band member’s hat, taking an instrument, throwing objects into the band section and yelling racial slurs.

This came after the band moved to a new seating section closer to the Tiger Cage. Drum major senior Amanda Lopes was wary of the move to the center and believes that the situation could have worked out if both sides showed respect.

“I just want respect going back and forth. We don’t play our instruments to annoy you. We are doing our jobs and what we ask for in return is respect,” Lopes said. “We should not be harassed for doing what we love to do and supporting our school.”

Senior band member Sarah Melchner wants to be near the Tiger Cage, because she has seen the band and student sections cheer together at other schools.

“We should be with the student section, but it should be accepted on both ends,” Melchner said. “There definitely needs to be a better relationship.”

Sophomore band member Alissa Prosser hoped that administration would take a firm hand with the students and was disappointed when the band didn’t receive an apology.

“I don’t care about kids making fun of us. That doesn’t bother me anymore,” Prosser said. “It’s the fact that we were being harassed and no adult stood up to do anything about it or apologize to us. That hurts me and doesn’t make me feel comfortable performing.”

Administration was informed of the situation the Monday following the game. Rather than take disciplinary action, admin is planning on preventing similar situations from occurring in the future.

“We are talking about it, that’s the best thing you can do” principal David Byrd said. “My sense of this is there is way more support for band and Tiger Cage to collectively be together to give us a presence, that’s what we’re shooting for, to bring the student body together.”

Byrd sent out an email on Wednesday to encourage RHS staff to recognize and respect the RHS band for the work they continue to put in this year.

In the future, admin wants to encourage the student body to be united.

“When you bring a group of students together you have students who take advantage of that, who do things that are inappropriate and things they shouldn’t do,” Byrd said. “When they do that, they’re gonna be addressed. We’re calling on all Tigers to pull together and say, ‘Wait a minute, we’re not enemies. We are all on the same team.’”

Lopes said she wanted admin to set a better precedent than “a slap on the wrist” for the actions. She hopes that in the future, if similar problems arise, admin will take a more firm stance on the issues.

“There needs to be a culture shift so the band kids can sit next to the student section and not make us experience any of that and not have the student section get themselves into trouble,” Lopes said. “But there does need to be some sort of punishment, so it doesn’t set a precedent of you can do this and get away with this.”

Tiger Cage leader senior Shelbie McKay wishes admin had punished the students and in the future have more repercussions.

“I think that if it continues, then something needs to happen, because what they did is not okay.” McKay said.

According to Prosser, it wasn’t school officials who confronted the band harassment.

“Some alumni or other Tiger Cage student ended up breaking it up for us which was nice, because I was very uncomfortable,” Prosser said. “For the rest of the night, I didn’t feel safe.”

Byrd and McKay hope that the Tiger Cage and band continue to sit together and collaborate in the future during sporting events.

“I love having them next to us because no matter what, it’s not ever quiet, and I think they’re a good addition,” McKay said. “If we were all to collab more it would be really cool. I love having the band.”