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CKHS principal apologizes to band for Homecoming fiasco

The principal of Central Kitsap High School apologized to the marching band Thursday for a homecoming game debacle in which the band’s performance was unceremoniously cut short.

Standing before band members on Linder Field, Stephen Coons said, “I wanted to come and express my sincere and deepest apology. It was a regrettable experience and never should have happened.”

According to Coons, the homecoming half-time show ran long. The show begins with a processional of the homecoming court, followed by the band’s carefully choreographed display. The Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association allows for an extended halftime during special events like homecoming, but the performance had run well beyond the allowed extension, Coons said.

School officials held their own football players back, Coons said, but they had no authority over the Foss High School players, who began to stream onto the field to warm up. Parent Heather McClellan said that was a safety issue, since band members were marching backward and could have tripped over the football players. He daughter Mira plays flutes in the band, made up of CKHS and Klahowya Secondary students.

The musicians were further demoralized when some of the CK coaches gestured for the band to leave the field so the game could resume, McClellan said.

As for the parents, “We were pissed,” she said.

Tyler Hunt, activities coordinator, shouldered part of the blame, saying, “It was unfortunate. Due to my part, it didn’t go as smoothly as it should. … You guys deserve as much respect as the football team.”

Coons acknowledged the band members’ hours of practice to prepare for the performance and pledged school officials were taking steps to ensure no such disrespect would ever be shown again. The band will be acknowledged at tomorrow’s game at Silverdale Stadium. Parents and friends of students will receive complimentary passes.

“I’m very glad he did that,” said McClellan, who observed the apology with several other parents. “I think it soothed the kids’ feelings. I think it was a great gesture.”

Coons said nothing like this has ever happened at CKHS in the 11 years he’s been there. But unfortunately incidents like this have happened elsewhere, he said.

“This is a great, hard-working bunch of kids. They really add to the quality of all our sporting events,’ Coons said. “It pains me to let them down.”

As band members filed out to the 50-yard line to begin their drills, one boy shook the principal’s hand and said, “It’s all good.”