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School Board sanctions HCHS Band

WINTON – The melee between two high school bands has resulted in intervention by the Hertford County Board of Education.

On Monday evening, the school board added an agenda item to discuss a fight that occurred November 2 between the bands of Bertie High School and Hertford County High School.

On that evening, the HCHS band went onto the field while the Bertie band was performing. Moments later a melee broke out between the two resulting in injuries.

Hertford County Band Director Frank Williams was charged with inciting a riot after an investigation. He was also suspended from his position with pay until further notice.

When the item came up on the agenda, Hertford County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael G. Basham discussed his investigation briefly.

Dr. Basham reported that he felt appropriate action had been taken with personnel and students.

After his report, board member Ronald G. Baker said he wanted the item added to the agenda for discussion, but did not feel the board needed to involve itself in the personnel action.

Instead, he made a motion to bar the Hertford County High School band from performing at Bertie for the next three years. The motion also said the Bertie High School band would not be invited or permitted to perform at HCHS for the same time span.

Board member David L. Shields offered a second and it passed without objection.

At the end of the meeting, three board members commented on the decision.

“I’m proud of the decision the board made tonight concerning the band,” board member Dennis M. Deloatch said.

Baker added that he applauded the board for taking the “appropriate action.”

Shields said that he was happy with the board’s decision, but went further in his comments about the incident.

“I think it’s unfortunate,” he said. “I don’t think blaming one or two groups is right. We have to all take some responsibility and I’m willing to share in my part of it.”

“It reflected negatively on our high school and Bertie’s high school,” he continued. “With all the good things going on, it’s a shame it is going to take a long time to overcome those 14 seconds.”