Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron issued this harsh letter to the CHS students Monday after some apparently unacceptable behavior at Friday night's football game:

Good morning, Columbia. I regret this morning that I need to review with you both my own observations as well as those that have been shared with me by members of the community with regard to some of the choices you have made over the last several days.

On Friday night at our football game, we were greatly disappointed at the choice that many of you made not to be quiet during the singing of our National Anthem. It was an absolute embarrassment to watch many of be so rude during the performance of your classmates who were singing, and it was disrespectful to our marching band, our cheerleaders, and others present who were giving the American flag, our National Anthem, and our student performers their full attention.

CHS principal Elizabeth Aaron
It was equally appalling to listen not once, not even twice, but three times to a group of CHS students use vulgarities while cheering against the opposing team. Any cheer that uses, in the case of Friday night, what I will call the “f-word”, is a disgrace to Columbia High School. It is an embarrassment to our school and our two towns, and especially to our football coaching staff and every member of our football team. They have put in hundreds of hours since last spring and extraordinary efforts to begin to build a team and a program that will bring us recognition for years to come. 

We are proud of their work this season, and your poor choices during the game brought dishonor to them and their hard work. It was embarrassing for me not only as your principal, but also as a parent in our community who had my own children with me at the game to have to see them watch and hear such inappropriate behavior from Columbia High School students who should have been cheering for our team, not against Nutley.

Finally, I would like to apologize with and on behalf of our Student Council advisor, Ms. Edelman. The lack of adult oversight regarding musical selections for the Pep Rally resulted in students using a song whose word choice and sentiments are not reflective of our standards. The title and lyrics sung have led students, parents, staff, and community members to question our integrity and professionalism as well as to question the decency of our student body. We expect all of our school activities and the choices our students and staff make to embody that integrity and regret that student choices and behavior did otherwise on Friday.

Students and staff, every action that we take, whether inside our walls or outside, represents who we are as a community of scholars and citizens at Columbia. Your every word and all of your actions send a message to everyone who sees and hears you, and leads them to either question who we are or, or will make them want to be part of and proud of who we are. Please remember this every day, as you work hard and make good choices.

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