Wall, NJ, school board silent as parents ask for answers
Parents and students filled the Wall Township Education Council meeting on Tuesday night seeking answers to allegations of hazing among members of the high school football team. They left angry and frustrated.
Almost 100 community members gathered in the high school cafeteria for a meeting that lasted over five hours. Some have expressed sympathy for the players who were not involved and who were caught up in the scandal. Others called the incident “embarrassing”.
School board members remained silent.
One student, her voice shaking with emotion, told the board, âPersonally, I’m terrified of going to school now. It’s scary to walk through these hallways knowing that there are people being assaulted.
“What about all the other children who have been abused that you don’t know yet?” she asked the board.
Again, the board said nothing.
The district has come under heavy criticism from some parents who insist the hazing incident simply highlights a wider pattern of abuse and bullying in school and in the community.
Ahead of the public comment period, Wall Schools Superintendent Tracy Handerhan asked community members and the media to “remember that the current case (hazing allegations) involves children.” As a result, Handerhan said she and the board were “legally prevented” from discussing the details of the alleged incident or the ongoing investigation.
The board meeting took place the same day it was revealed that seven students had been suspended for 10 days for “hazing and conduct unbecoming a student”.
Before community members were invited to speak, the board approved several hires to replace staff who had been put on leave due to the hazing incident, but the board has yet to offer any comment. nor open discussion on these issues.
Former State Superior Court Judge Deborah Gramiccioni, now a private practice attorney representing several Wall High School students, told New Jersey 101.5 “There appears to have been a rush to judgment” by officials at school and worried children unrelated to the incident were tarnished by this.
The Monmouth County District Attorney continues to investigate the incident, but has not laid any charges or disclosed any details.
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