A recent high school football hazing went public and led to accusations of rape. Local politicians allegedly took advantage of the facts and turned a case of bullying into a political platform.
The story at Sayreville War Memorial High School alleges that head coach George Najjar had “allowed” seven seniors to “initiate” freshmen as part of a hazing ritual, but the facts appear a lot less dramatic. Some boys had allegedly only grabbed their teammates’ buttocks, but it was alleged by some freshmen that there was sexual penetration involved. Now the head coach and the students engaged in the hazing have been suspended, ending the season according to BBC News.
The hazing ritual involved four boys holding down the freshman, and giving a howl before turning off the lights. Two others stood guard while it happened. Then apparently it was common practice to grab the buttocks at the very least. According to at least one victim’s report, a finger wandered someplace it shouldn’t.
Michael Kasdan of the Good Men Project claims it’s plain and simple rape.
While high school football hazing has been known as a generally accepted practice, the players at Sayreville in New Jersey apparently took the ritual too far. Now the school is being targeted in the political crosshairs as part of a bid to get citizens to vote for Republican candidates. Lisa Eicher and Pat Lembo aim to “restore faith” in Sayreville athletics, according to the New Jersey News.
Now the high school and the politicians are entangled in a bigger mess, with fliers having been mailed out with a message of hope against bullying.
“Your support of Lisa and Pat will be an important step toward rebuilding the athletic department and ensuring that no student in Sayreville faces bullying again.”
It is unknown exactly how electing a politician will reduce school bullying, but the candidates are being accused of dirty tactics for using the high school football hazing as a platform.
The only connections known are Pat Lembo’s status as a former member of the Board of Education, and Eicher’s status as an elementary school teacher in Parlin. He and Lisa Eicher are Republicans running against Democratic candidates Mary Novak and Victoria Kilpatrick for two coveted seats on the borough council.
Sayreville football scandal has NJ Senate Dems backing new bill requiring educators, coaches to report abuse. http://t.co/EaHZfYs051
— CASA of New Jersey (@CASAofNJ) October 20, 2014
Lembo says that the flier sent out promoting himself and Eicher was a collaborative effort between “the candidates and the party.”
GOP Chairman John Melillo stated on Sunday that he had not seen or read the flier in question, and at the time had no comment. This contradicts statements claiming that he had mailed the flier himself last week.
Candidate Victoria Kilpatrick is accusing Lembo and Eicher of taking advantage of the high school football hazing controversy.
“With Sayreville in the national spotlight, our town needs a united front to demonstrate our community’s resolve to handle this tragedy responsibly and with compassion. No representative of our community should be suggesting anything less.”
Do you think that Lembo and Eicher went too far using the high school football hazing as a platform to get elected?
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