After seven football players were arrested over the weekend and charged with participating in hazing rituals that prosecutors have labeled sexual assault, Sayreville War Memorial High School officials will conduct further investigation of the alleged incidents, starting with the coaching staff.
"We've already launched a holistic harassment, intimidation and bullying investigation on our entire athletic program, as well as all of our extracurricular activities,'' Sayreville Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe told Natalie Morales on TODAY Monday. "We're first and foremost focusing on the level of supervision that we provide our students within those programs. We're also investigating if there are any other forms of harassment, intimidation and bullying in any of our other athletic programs and extracurricular activities. As soon as we do get the green light from the Middlesex County prosecutor to begin to investigate the football program, we will, and we'll begin with interviews of our coaches."
More on the scandal that prompted officials to cancel the remainder of the football season:
- On the parents claiming the players not charged with any crime are paying the price for the actions of those who were: "First of all, it's important to note that when we look at these events and you look at the parent reaction, certainly I understand the concern of the parents because they're looking out for their children,'' Sayreville Board of Education president Kevin Ciak said on TODAY. "But when you look at the Sayreville community, that reaction is not reflective of the entire community. We help our most vulnerable, so when you look at the Sayreville community, we will stand up and we will help and assist the victims of these tragic events in any way that we possibly can."
- Officials' reaction to the details of the charges: "We're now reading the accounts that are in the papers and we're seeing the charges, and we're as horrified as everyone else is," Labbe said.