Peters Township investigating allegations that band members wore ‘blackface’ during playoff football game

PETERS TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Peters Township school officials are investigating after reports of their high school band members wore “blackface” to a football game against Woodland Hills.

In a picture that has been posted on social media, several members of the band appear to be wearing Halloween costumes to Friday night’s game. Two students, drum majors in the band, marched at the front wearing a full-body black spandex suit. Some perceived the suits as the modern-day equivalent of blackface.

Late in the game, a brief fight broke out between the two teams, though it’s unclear if these blackface accusations were the cause of it.

“The first thing I see at the top of the hill was two marching band leaders dressed in blackface with white hats and white wigs on and white shorts and a white dress,” said Woodland Hills assistant coach Chris Edmonds.

Edmonds told Channel 11 his players were stunned.

“Some of them were very discouraged. They didn’t want to play. They were just like, ‘we come out here and want to do the right thing, and their coaches let them do whatever they want to do,’” he said.

That’s when Edmonds went and spoke with the band director, telling him he felt the band offended their program by having the drum majors dressed like that.

Edmonds said he was ready to leave, but Woodland Hills decided to play despite the circumstances. On Monday, the Woodland Hills superintendent issued the following statement that read, in part: “During the Woodland Hills vs. Peters Township playoff football game, there were several racially incentive moments directed toward our students. This is not the first time and sadly not the last time our students will have to perform under such ugly situations. Our students were given the “talk” prior to the game and were well aware of the negative environment that they were about to visit,” superintendent James Harris said, in part, in a letter to the community.

Meanwhile, Peters Township sent Channel 11 the following statement:

“Peters Township School District does not condone or permit discrimination. The District is investigating the student costume choices from Friday night’s football game and reviewing the actions or inactions on behalf of District staff present at the game.”