Wall High School in New Jersey has canceled its upcoming semifinal football playoff game amid an investigation into hazing within the program.
“Because of this pending investigation, and after consultation with the board counsel, administration and the office of the Monmouth County Interim Executive County Superintendent, the football game scheduled for this Friday is canceled,” superintendent of schools Tracy Handerhan said in a memo.
According to News 12 New Jersey, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Wall High School’s football program for hazing after allegations of upperclassmen on the team bullying underclassmen were reported to authorities. At least one video of the incident shows student-athletes threatening and assaulting another player, according to News 12.
“Upon becoming aware of the allegation, we immediately contacted the appropriate authorities,” the Wall Township School District said in a statement. “There is a pending investigation and the school district is cooperating fully. We cannot comment further on a pending investigation of a student matter.”
According to the Wall Township School District’s policy, “Harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe environment. Therefore, the school district will not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying.”
The Wall Township Police Department referred additional inquiries to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, which stated “juvenile records are by their nature confidential, therefore we cannot confirm or deny any details about this matter.”
Wall was scheduled to host Delsea in the semifinals of the South Jersey Group 3 playoffs on Friday night. Delsea will now presumably advance to the sectional finals with a forfeit win. Wall’s annual Thanksgiving game against Manasquan High School is also in jeopardy as the investigation continues.
“They handed in a letter and pulled out of the tournament,” Delsea athletic director Ken Schoudt told NJ Advance Media. “It’s bigger than football. Just a bigger lesson to be learned, (that there are) consequences for actions.”