CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Ardrey Kell High School Principal David Switzer is discussing the reasons why he kicked out hundreds of students from a recent Friday night football game.
Switzer says seeing students drunk, high on drugs, spitting at band members, head-butting students, and making racial comments was just too much. That is the reason he kicked out about 500 students. He says he has never had to remove students from a football game before.
"This is my eighth year as principal," Switzer said. "I was upset. I was upset. Maybe my foundation wasn't there - kind of self-reflection. What I could have done differently?"
Switzer says emails and phone calls telling him that he did the right thing encouraged him during this embarrassing time. He says he has had talks with students about what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. He says the lesson learned is parents must talk to their kids about drinking and not conducting in behavior that is not allowed on school property.
Switzer says he wants to set the record straight. He says the students, who were known to be drunk or on drugs at the game, were not driving and he did not release them to get behind the wheel of a car.
"Every student that we got, we released them to their parents' custody," Switzer said. "[They] received consequences - whether in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension."
Switzer says so far between eight and ten students were disciplined, and more could be disciplined if they were found not obeying the rules. He also says students caught under the influence were referred to a substance abuse program.
The principal says the person or persons responsible for the racial comment has not been identified. He says the comment was directed at an 8th grader who was visiting and plans to attend Ardrey Kell next year. Switzer says the boy heard someone yell at him, "Black boy, watch out and keep your head on a swivel when attending Ardrey Kell."
"I have apologized to that young student myself," Switzer said. "And let him know he is welcomed anytime."
Ardrey Kell is taking some heat over the reaction of this situation. Many think since this disturbing incident happened at Ardrey Kell, action wasn't swift enough and no arrests were made at the game. Some argue if it would have happened in another part of town, the outcome would have been different.
Switzer says police officers at the game decide whether or not to arrest. He says it was there decision not to arrest. The principal also says his school doesn't have a problem any other high school in the district is not dealing with. He claims his school has nothing to hide.
"We have kids here that abuse drugs, that drink," Switzer said. "We have it just like anywhere else. Do we condone it? No. Do we accept it? No."
The principal also says just because he is principal at Ardrey Kell, he is not holding back words to describe the actions of some of his students.
"That's thuggish behavior," he said. "That's inappropriate behavior. I wouldn't call it silly behavior - it's thuggish. Whatever you want to call - it's behavior that's not tolerated."
Switzer says at the next home game, students will have to show student ID before they can sit in the student section. He also says police officers have a device that can detect if students have been drinking.