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Busing Mishap Has Brick Dragons Marching Band Members Upset

The Brick Township High School Dragons Marching Band, playing from the stands, Sept. 13, 2014. (Photo: Marching Dragon Caravan)

The Brick Township High School Dragons Marching Band, playing from the stands, Sept. 13, 2014. (Photo: Marching Dragon Caravan)

A busing error last weekend has members of the Brick Dragons marching band feeling slighted, but school officials say measures have been put in place to make sure it won’t happen again.

A week after a controversy over a noise complaint against the Brick Memorial High School marching band ended with the township suspending its noise ordinance for the Mustangs, the Dragons were disheartened by a busing error that made them late to the cross-town football game between the two high schools last Saturday.

“We engage with the school, and I think it’s important to the school that we’re there,” Mary Ellen Guida, a BTHS senior and Drum Major for the band this year, told members of the Board of Education on Thursday night.

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Guida and her mother, Laura, came to the meeting with about 15 other band parents who were upset that there wasn’t a bus to transport the Dragons marching band into Mustangs territory in time for the rival game last weekend. A mishap with the bus schedules led to the team being late to the game and missing out on the chance to play before the game began.

“It’s really all about respect,” Guida said.

In such cross-town games, under New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association rules, the visiting team is barred from performing on the field once the game begins, even though the two teams are from the same town. So traditionally, the visiting team’s band has always performed before the game began. This year, the Dragons band had yet to arrive at Brick Memorial in time for kickoff, so the band was relegated to playing from the stands once they arrived on multiple buses that went back to Brick Township High School to pick them up.

Superintendent Dr. Walter Uszenski said the mishap stemmed from a miscommunication between school officials and the transportation office, but since last weekend, a “failsafe” has been put in place to make sure such an error does not occur again.

“We’re going to make sure that you’re acknowledged,” Uszenski said after Guida addressed the board. Uszenski said he will be among those school officials who will be at the Mustangs’ marching band competition this Saturday, cheering them on.

Guida said, most of all, the band simply wanted to be able to represent their school.

“It’s about the program I love and we love so much, and something we put our heart and soul into,” she said. “The band works hard to promote school spirit.”