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DECATUR | Links between FAMU, Southwest DeKalb notable | News

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DECATUR | Links between FAMU, Southwest DeKalb notable

DECATUR, Ga. -- There are thousands of kids in the bands at DeKalb county's 21 high schools. But the link between FAMU and Southwest DeKalb stands out.

RELATED | DeKalb County suspends all marching band activities

At least thus far, there is no evidence of any kind of hazing at SWD. But just the link between the two schools was enough for school officials to suspend all band activity while the system's internal affairs investigators conduct their probe.

Southwest DeKalb is one of the preeminent high school bands in the country, with honors that include performing internationally, in front of the president, and at the Rose Bowl.

It is no surprise that with top-tier talent like that, many of the students would graduate to premier band universities like Florida A&M University.

But the connection between FAMU and SWD is notable.

According to the Southwest DeKalb band's website, the director of bands, James Seda, is an alumnus of FAMU and a past member of its famed Marching 100.

So was Demetrius Hubert, the high school band's director of percussion.

Indeed, the top four band administrators all have similar ties to FAMU, including Steven Cooper, the assistant director, and Byron Jackson, the director of drum majors.

Don Roberts is the instrumental music coordinator of the DeKalb school system and, according to his bio, he was a drum major at FAMU, as well as a past director of the band at SWD.

Two alleged FAMU hazing victims, Robert Champion who died and Bria Hunter who was seriously injured, both went to SWD.

One of the FAMU band members arrested for allegedly beating Hunter, Sean Hobson, also attended Southwest DeKalb.

DeKalb school officials also say they are investigating two incidents that took place over the summer that are not known to be connected to SWD, adding that suspending the band activity systemwide was done out of an abundance of caution.