Deer Valley Principal files complaint with league over rule violation by Pittsburg High band in response to Superintendent’s additional statement

By Allen Payton

In response to an early morning additional statement by Pittsburg Unified School District Superintendent Janet Shulze blaming the Deer Valley High School (DVHS) football team for causing the incident with the Pittsburg High band, prior to last Friday night’s game, earlier today, DVHS Principal Ken Gardner filed a complaint against Pittsburg High School with the Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) over rule violations.

Dr. Schulze basically absolved her school and I find that reprehensible,” he stated during an interview with Herald staff, this morning.“And that is why I am filing a formal complaint…over violation of rule 305H, subsection f.”

Section “305H Code of Ethics for Bands and Other Support Groups,” subsection “f” states “Bands, song girls, entertainment, etc., should never interfere with the officials, the practicing teams, or the playing of the game.”

In addition, Gardner mentioned the rule which gives each team 30 minutes of warm-up prior to the game, which he states Deer Valley was not provided.

Pittsburg administrators and staff failed to communicate with a visiting team, except to say the game might start late and denied us the ability to warm up,” Gardner added.

UPDATE: Following is the complete text of the complaint letter regarding the incident, a copy of which can be viewed by clicking here: DVHS – BVAL Complaint 10.16.15

October 20, 2015

Bud Beemer


Bay Valley Athletic League

1050 Neroly Road

Oakley, CA 94561

Commissioner Beemer,

On Friday, October 16, 2015 Deer Valley High School and Pittsburg High School were scheduled for a varsity football game at 7:00 PM. We received one communication prior to the football game from Connie Spinnato, Vice Principal of Pittsburg High School, stating that the game may be late due to the senior celebration of the senior band members and the celebration for Vic Galli for his accomplishments.

We did not receive the customary game plan with a schedule showing the sequence of events, practice areas for warm-ups and field restrictions if any.

Prior to the game our varsity football team was on the practice field behind the visiting side bleachers beginning their warm-ups, when they were directed to leave the area because the band needed the field. Coach Hubbard asked where they could warm up and did not receive a definitive answer, so he took the team back to the locker room. He was then contacted by an unknown member of the Pittsburg Staff in the locker room advising him that he could warm up the team on the stadium football field. He proceeded to the field where Steve Ahonen, Pittsburg USD Administrator, told him that he could warm up the team from the Southern thirty (30) yard line to the goal post for the team. Coach Hubbard took the team to the area for the warm up. During the time for the warm up, prior to the game, with no communication with Coach Hubbard, any member of our extensive coaching staff or I did a single member of the Pittsburg staff approach us and request that we clear the field for the Pittsburg Marching Band. We saw the Pittsburg Marching Band form up in the North End Zone however we did not expect them to enter while we were on the field. The Pittsburg Band, under the direction of Ms. Jennifer Martinez, once formed immediately came onto the field while the Deer Valley High School varsity football team was engaged in warm-ups, in violation of Sports and General Handbook Section 305H (f)—Bands, song girls, entertainment, etc., should never interfere with officials, practicing teams, or the playing of the game.

The resulting confusion of being surrounded by a very large and unyielding marching band, caused our players to mill around and not respond to the shouted commands of their coaches. The coaches tried to address the issue with members of the Pittsburg High School staff who were on the field who told them to leave the field. The players attempted to continue their warm-ups despite the band’s presence and it appeared that they did not recognize the playing of the national anthem and did not respect the flag or our country. In speaking with coaches and players none of them realized that the national anthem was playing. I was on the 50 yard line and as a military veteran and retiree, I did not recognize the playing of the national anthem until at least one third through the song, at which time I turned to the flag and stood at the position of attention until the completion of the song.

A video was posted of the incident which out of context makes Deer Valley High School and its players appear to be unpatriotic, uncaring and disrespectful to both the national anthem and the Pittsburg High School Marching Band. They are neither, if adults had acted appropriately and if the rules had been followed we would not have been in the situation to begin with.

The ensuing social media criticism, the media commentary and the court of public opinion has painted our students in an extremely negative light which they neither deserve nor should be subjected.

I am also very concerned about the safety of students who have not had adequate time to warm-up, which we were denied.

Respectfully submitted,

Kenneth Gardner


President of the Bay Area Valley Athletic League

Please look for the complete article being investigated by Herald staff, to be published by tomorrow (Wednesday).

the attachments to this post:

DVHS - BVAL Complaint 10.16.15
DVHS – BVAL Complaint 10.16.15

15 Comments to “Deer Valley Principal files complaint with league over rule violation by Pittsburg High band in response to Superintendent’s additional statement”

  1. karl dietzel says:

    what a kindergarten

    and you guys wonder why the kids are acting up.

  2. Tony says:

    What the article fails to mention is that before the Deer Valley football team entered the football stadium, their
    football players were pushing the Pittsburg High School band members that were assembled in block formation
    in the parking lot. One band student said she was pushed by one of the coaches. After the game was completed,
    Pittsburg police detained the buses from Antioch to obtain personal information from the coaches and give the
    band student the opportunity to identify the coach who assaulted her. What about the Antioch coach who was
    on the football field who was waving his arms to incite the Pittsburg spectators and he was directing his players
    to continually interrupt and interfere with the band performance. That was a shameful act on his part. Coaches,
    teachers and adults are supposed to be role models for students. By acting out this coach showed his true
    character, mentality, was unprofessional and should be removed as a coach.

    • Publisher says:

      A more complete, investigative article is being worked on tonight and will be posted sometime, tomorrow (Wednesday).
      Allen Payton, Publisher

  3. jaz says:

    it is so disappointing to see grown adults try to justify what happened to the Pittsburg High School marching show band members. Musicians were physically handled by not only the DV football players, but by the own football teams coach as well. After the fact that the bands flag twirlers were harassed by the football players on the field, AND after the game as the band was marching out of the stadium and the players were on the bus. It’s baffling how DV is filing a complaint about not having enough time to “warm-up” when they exercised the opportunity to practice beforehand during the WHOLE JV game. Was an extra 30 minutes really necessary? Did not having it justify the harm of PHS band members? These were kids who were hurt, but I guess Gardners main concern is how this puts a bad impression on his school. It’s clear that he has put no importance on the members of the high schools band who were hurt, but rather everyone’s outlook on his own school. Role models for our future y’all!

  4. Eli says:

    Okay, you want to bring up codes and try and turn it around ? Here’s one. The United States Flag Code, Section 171: Conduct during playing

    “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”

    You guys wanna do me a favor and remind them of that ?

    • Ha says:

      Welp, too bad Pittsburg players weren’t on the field during the time of the National Anthem. Pittsburg High is just breaking all types of codes.

    • Lil Yops says:

      To be clear. DV warmed up a full 60 minutes plus. They warmed up on adjacent field 45 minutes and another 35 minutes after the JV game ended. I was there.

  5. Luz says:

    This is ignorant considering that same code he’s referring to says the band is allowed to perform before a game during half time and after a game. Which is exactly what they did preform before the game.

    Also the codes prior to that one, point out the behavior of a coach should refrain from inciting undesirable behavior from the crowd which is exactly what he did when the team ran on the field.

    And prior to that code, there is one directed towards athletes, stating they must share in the responsibility for the conduct of their teammates by controling their behavior. Which is exactly what they didn’t do.

    The band had no call in their actions they preformed a routine they practice all week. They aren’t meant to improvise, they are just their to put on a show. The players in the other hand decided they wanted to continue to practice in that area even when there is a practice field behind the stadium open to them.

    They chose to run at the band during the national anthem, it wasn’t a drill it wasn’t their “practice” at that point they made the choice to harass the band.

  6. Rae says:

    I think we should give Deer Valley a break given they are new to the district and have never played a game at Pittsburg High School. Oh, wait, sorry. I took a trip back in my mind about 15 years. Whatever happened to supporting and uplifting those within our communities? Pittsburg High School band is nationally recognized and that should be celebrated. Not used to make a mockery of CHILDREN and pettiness. Leaders lead by example. DVHS principal is following a bunch of petty fools down a sad and tragic road that will teach students nothing except always blaming someone else for their problems. Shame

  7. Rich says:

    This is the response by the top person at Deer Valley High School? This is what’s important? THIS is what’s wronmg with the educational system.

    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.

    How dare any of you dismiss the respect factor! It’s all about respect and in this case the lack of. When the principal of a high school finds it more important to quibble over a few minutes of practice in lieu of our National Anthem . . . well, there needs to be changes. That goes for all that support him too. I believe Federal trumps local in this case.

    Respectfully disgusted and submitted,

    Rich Buongiorno

  8. TP says:

    I think he still doesn’t have the facts and simply went of the words of his dumb a** coaches! The DV team had more than 30 minutes to warm up and if he’d had taken time to view the video, mainly the clock he will see how mistaken he is! The Pitt team clears the field after their warm-ups and return after the band. Yet this still doesn’t excuse the coaches or the players behavior which was illustrated for the world to see on television. Attitude reflects leadership and it’s obvious the leadership of DV is screwed! How dare he!

  9. Arne says:

    So the Pittsburg-Antioch animosity continues – sad.

  10. Justin says:

    If it took him 1/3 of the National Anthem to recognize the song was military was he in for 20 years. I’m a Veteran and can recognize it in 3 notes. This Principal, these coaches, these players are nothing more than a direct reflection of what’s wrong with America.

    • Publisher says:

      Please re-read the statement made by the principal – “I couldn’t hear the National Anthem because of the direction of the band and due to the cacophony of noise.”
      Allen Payton, Publisher

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