N.J. football power Sayreville cancels season amid bullying investigation

N.J. football power Sayreville cancels season amid bullying investigation

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N.J. football power Sayreville cancels season amid bullying investigation

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SAYREVILLE, N.J. – Citing substantial and credible evidence that the storied Sayreville football program was rife with pervasive and wide-scale incidents of alleged harassment, intimidation and bullying, the rest of the team’s 2014 season has been canceled.

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Schools Superintendent Rich Labbe made the announcement Monday night during a meeting with parents of football players at the high school.

“We can set the standard right now for all kids for all school districts in Middlesex County, in the state and in the nation that we are not going to stand around and allow kids to do this to one another,” Labbe said. “We are going to start holding our students responsible for doing the right thing and reporting these kinds of behaviors. I believe with every fiber of my body that the only way we are going to stop bullying is if we get the kids to go to an adult or to the authorities.

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“We need our kids to stop being bystanders and start being upstanders and to report it when someone is harassing, intimidating and bullying one of their peers.

“That is why we are standing up and making a statement here that we are not tolerating that behavior by any of our student-athletes, and that we take their safety and welfare first and foremost into consideration and that everyone on that team has a responsibility to stand up and protect one another, and that was not done.”

Sayreville, which has won three NJSIAA sectional titles over the past four years, is widely regarded as one of the state’s top public school football programs. The Bombers string of 20 consecutive playoff appearances will now come to an end.

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Labbe announced during a news conference last Friday that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and borough police were investigating allegations of a “significant and serious nature” within the football program.

The criminal investigation is ongoing and no details, if any, will be released until it is complete.

Labbe said he could not discuss the future of the coaching staff, members of which may be facing criminal charges, because it is a personnel matter.

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