Monday, October 13, 2014

Hazing arrests may push New Jersey high school towards permanantly eliminating football: Report

After the arrest of seven football players for their brutal hazing abuse on freshman members of the team, the scandalized New Jersey high school is discussing the possibility of eliminating the sport permanently from its athletic program.

Sayreville War Memorial High School football has already cancelled the rest of this season.

The disturbing — and highly-publicized — reports of alleged attacks of a sexual nature in the locker room has divided the working class town into two sides — and now Sayreville Schools Superintendent Richard Labbe claims there is a possibility that the sport could be scrapped forever, reported

"I will say clearly: Whether we have a football program moving forward is certainly a question in my mind," Labbe said at a rally calling for schools to do more to tackle bullying and assault. "Based upon the severity of the charges, I'm not sure. I have to look at the results of the investigation. I have to await more information from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's office."

The seven students, 15 to 17 years-old,  have been charged with sex crimes after allegedly pinning down new players, penetrating them with a finger, then sticking it in the boys' mouths. 

Over the weekend, Labbe revealed information gathered by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Officer suggests harassment, intimidation and bullying may have taken place before this year in the Bombers' locker room.

"The prosecutor said it was pervasive and led me to believe that it's more than one year," Labbe said. "To the extent of that, I'm not sure. I'm confident that it was more than one year. How many more years? I'm not sure."

The new details of the abuse has forced the school officials to consider the future of the powerhouse team, the coach and the principal.

The description of the attacks, which are alleged to have taken place almost every day from September 19 to 29, was given by an unnamed parent of a football player on Saturday.

It came as the coach of the team, George Najjar, refused to answer questions about whether he would resign. He said: "There will be a time and place when I have something to say, but now is not the time."

Three were charged with aggravated sexual assault, criminal restraint, hazing and other crimes for an act of sexual penetration upon one of the children.

The four other students were charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact and other crimes.

Those in custody were awaiting a Family Court decision on whether they would be held at a juvenile detention facility or be released to their families. Their names weren't released because of their ages.

Labbe said that if he decides to suspend the program, he has not thought about how long any suspension may last. He will wait until the prosecutor's office has finished its investigation before making a decision, he said.

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