Antioch, Pittsburg Superintendents say band members, players confused, no intent to disrespect National Anthem, before Friday night football game, investigation continues

Following is the verbatim press release from the superintendents of both the Antioch and Pittsburg Unified School Districts.

October 19, 2015

6:00 PM

As you are probably aware, an incident occurred prior to the Deer Valley/Pittsburg High Football game over the weekend that has received a lot of media (and social media) attention. We felt it was important for you to hear from both districts regarding the incident and what we plan to do as a result.

First of all, please know that, as educational and community leaders, school and student safety is our highest priority. This commitment stretches beyond classroom walls and applies to sporting events, extra-curricular activities and community activities that involve our students and staff members. Thus, when we learned of an incident that may compromise the safety of students, we take it very seriously. Our districts and schools have always embraced a collaborative and positive working relationship, whether it is in the classroom, in the meeting room, or on the football field.

The incident involving football players and band members was regrettable and should not have occurred. We met today with school principals, athletic directors and other personnel to discuss the incident, collect more information and begin a joint investigation. At this point, we believe a series of miscommunications occurred that resulted in both the Pittsburg High band and Deer Valley High football team being on the field at the same time. This created confusion on the part of the Pittsburg band members and Deer Valley football players.

We believe there was no intent on either side to disrespect the observance of our country’s National Anthem. Both AUSD and PUSD have coaching and support staff who served proudly in the armed forces and who deeply value our flag and country.

The investigation will continue to determine where communication may have broken down and to address the various allegations brought forth as a result of Friday’s game. If we determine any of the allegations to be true, we will take swift and appropriate action.

We will never condone poor sportsmanship at any of our events or activities. We are saddened by the negative messages being portrayed about our students in social media. Both teams showed great sportsmanship during and after the game and no other incidents occurred. We encourage our communities to please not jump to conclusions and understand that we are working cooperatively together, and will continue to work together to promote safe and positive experiences for our students.


Donald Gill, Superintendent                             Janet Shulze, Superintendent

Antioch Unified School District                        Pittsburg Unified School District

To view a copy of the joint press release by the two districts, click here: AUSD PUSD Joint Press Release 10-19-15

Editor’s Note: Herald staff is currently investigating what occurred and will provide a more complete story on the incident, within the next few days.

the attachments to this post:

AUSD PUSD Joint Press Release 10-19-15
AUSD PUSD Joint Press Release 10-19-15

3 Comments to “Antioch, Pittsburg Superintendents say band members, players confused, no intent to disrespect National Anthem, before Friday night football game, investigation continues”

  1. Adam Bird says:

    Whatever the “miscommunication,” the band was still on the field, STILL playing the National Anthem. That team should have to forfeit at least two games, and the coaches at the very least put on probation. Common sense here.

  2. Loretta Sweatt says:

    Yes I believe it was just a reaction to miscommunication and no harm intended, and actually, no harm done. Apologies could be conveyed from both sides to each other, shake hands and call it a day!

  3. Rich says:

    As usual, we as a society, are losing sight of what is important – RESPECT. Having read the AUSD/PUSD responses, watch 4 different video of varying lengths and read enumerable comments in social media.

    Candidly, I am sickened that not one person has yet to grasp the real issue.

    There has been such an emphasis on what “they” feel is important. Whether it is an inane filing of a complaint regarding missing a few minutes of practice or a statement advising, “According to the District, they will take disciplinary actions if necessary, however, at this point in their investigation they say they believed this to be a series of miscommunication. They also believed neither school showed intent to disrespect the country’s National Anthem.” The fact is that respect has become passé. It is lacking form this generation and the generation before. How it got that way I have no idea, I don’t even care, because it makes me sick.

    So, you ask what should be done so this doesn’t happen again? WHOA! Stop, let’s deal with the issue first!
    Realizing that the investigation is allegedly not over. I want to pose a some questions and would kindly demand a response from the AUSD & PUSD leaders.

    Not forgetting the fact that DV was penalized for their behavior, what was it for? If it wasn’t for their unsportsmanlike behavior, what was it? Some person(s), probably without the benefit of video, saw first hand what happened and determined it was wrong.

    QUESTION 1) Who(m) made that decision, because it was obviously a correct observation and decision? I believe a commendation is in order.

    Having worked in a Federal position where it was necessary to uphold the general and permanent laws of the United States, CFR’s, UCS, etc, The United States Code is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is prepared by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives.

    Regarding the National Anthem, the 36 U.S. Code § 301 – National anthem states (read b(1)(C) & (2) below):
    (a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
    (b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem—

    . . (1) when the flag is displayed—

    . . . (A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;

    . . . (B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform;


    . . . (C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and

    . . (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

    Should every school district employee, a civil servant, uphold the laws and regulations of the land and be held to the highest of standards?

    Don’t those standards include demonstrating knowledge, skill and ability to perform their duties and serve as an example to subordinate employees and the public? Would it not be even more important for a person in an educational position to display those standards for all to see and admire?

    If that/those civil servants do not possess the knowledge or desire to perform; the skill to make reasonable decisions; ability to serve as an example, shouldn’t those servants be subject to a separation of relationship – with cause?

    In addition, the DVHS football team should be “punished” due to the fact they have either been trained and/or allowed to run around with their helmets on while the National Anthem is being played in violation of portions of 36 U.S. Code § 301 – what could those actions possibly be called other than intentionally disrespectful?

    The coaches and captains who are the teams “supervisors” allow this kind of behavior? Shouldn’t they also be subject to “punishment” for allowing the team to be intentionally disrespectful?

    Having been clearly documented by video(s) and news media, these behaviors, while being intentionally disrespectful are also morally unacceptable.

    Additionally, my concern is how long has behavior of this type been allowed to continue? What other school officials have allowed this abhorrent behavior to continue and for how long or is this a first or a learned behavior?

    I believe there should be a thorough audit conducted of prior events, not just football games – ANY AND ALL – prior events involving “The Star Spangled Banner”, designated the national anthem by an Act of Congress in 1931.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Rich Buongiorno

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