Brutal hazing cases seem to pop up every fall somewhere in the country, even in the summer sometimes if you happen to be Miss America. But those instances tend to be related to college-aged students, not high schoolers. Even among the older students, it’s still jarring to see the words “sexual assault” and “rape” in a headline about the practice — but the actions of seven New Jersey high school football players are being called just that, reported The Associated Press.
Details of the sexual assault have been published by local paper The New Jersey Star-Ledger. An anonymous parent came forward to reveal details of the abuse that went on during the high school football team’s annual hazing practices, re-worded here by Star-Ledger reporter Matthew Stanmyre.
“It came without warning. It would start with a howling noise from a senior football player at Sayreville War Memorial High School, and then the locker room lights were abruptly shut off. In the darkness, a freshman football player would be pinned to the locker room floor, his arms and feet held down by multiple upperclassmen. Then, the victim would be lifted to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum. Sometimes, the same finger was then shoved into the freshman player’s mouth.”
Despite the graphic details of the high school football team’s hazing practices, some local parents were upset that the superintendent had decided to cancel the football season, saying that it was unfair to punish innocent members of wrongdoing. In the video below, parents weigh in on the case, as well as Politi, who argues that the hazing culture was pervasive in Sayreville’s high school football program.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie condemned the actions of the high school football team and supported actions taken to uproot the problem in high schools across New Jersey.
“If these allegations are, in fact, true than this is a nightmare for the parents of the young men. And it tells us something about the attitude that was allowed to pervade in that program. And both of those things need to be addressed [not] only specifically in Sayreville, but more broadly across the entire state to ensure that no young male or female athletes are exposed to that type of treatment. I speak not only as a governor but as the father of four children who play sports… You think that when you send your child to a sporting activity they’re going to be engaged in an activity that’s positive for them, that’s uplifting, that teaches the right type of of lessons. If that’s what went on in Sayreville… it’s unacceptable.”
Do you think Sayreville’s high school football should have gotten to play this season?
[Image via Flickr]