Band Director suspended

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AHOSKIE – The healing process has begun.

Meanwhile, the “wounds” caused by an ugly alternation on Nov. 2 between the bands of Hertford County High School and Bertie High School has led to the suspension of HCHS Band Director Frank Williams.

Dr. Michael Basham, Superintendent of Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS), told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald yesterday (Wednesday) that Williams is suspended without pay until further notice. Dr. Basham said without a director, the HCHS Band is not allowed to perform at any function or event.

Following the Nov. 2 incident, which occurred in Ahoskie during halftime of the annual Bertie-Hertford County football game, Williams was charged by the Ahoskie Police Department with inciting a riot. Three students were injured in the melee. Each was transported to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital where they were treated and released.

Since that time, HCPS officials have reviewed video tape from the night of the incident and interviewed those involved with the melee. Dr. Basham said he had also worked with Bertie Superintendent Dr. Chip Zullinger concerning the incident.

“What this all boiled down to was a lack of communication between the two band directors,” Dr. Basham said.

Communication was the focus point of a Wednesday morning program at HCHS where school officials invited Dr. Dudley Flood to address a group of student-athletes, band members, Student Government Association representatives and the Junior ROTC cadets. Dr. Flood, a Winton native who spent a number of years as a teacher, coach and principal, wanted to “communicate” to the students the keys to success in life.

“When you talk about your future, be reminded that life’s opportunities begin today,” said Dr. Flood, now a noted lecturer and consultant to groups throughout the United States. “It all begins with having strong values about yourself as a student and as a person.”

Dr. Flood said the keys to success in life include first impressions are the most lasting ones, personal appearance and actions should be self-evaluated everyday, the ability to work well with others and to project yourself in a positive manner so that others want to be around you.

While he didn’t directly address the band fight, he did drop a major hint that this type of behavior is not only bad for the individual group it involved, but the entire community as well.

“As Hertford County residents, we are bound together as a group,” Dr. Flood concluded. “If one goes down, we all go down. Do not put yourself in a position to tarnish the reputation of your fellow citizens.”

Dr. Flood was scheduled to address Bertie High School students Wednesday afternoon.