After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, a nice way of recovery has been through local high school sports. Apparently, that doesn't offer much solace anymore.
PARLIN, N.J. — A town that found encouragement in its winning high school football team after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy was left to absorb another blow Tuesday after school officials canceled the season over allegations of bullying, intimidation and harassment among players.
School officials in Sayreville, childhood home of rocker Jon Bon Jovi, made the announcement Monday night during a meeting with the players' parents. The district already had canceled and forfeited a game that was scheduled last week between Sayreville War Memorial and South Brunswick and announced that the Middlesex County prosecutor's office was investigating the allegations.
"There was enough evidence that there were incidents of harassment, of intimidation and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level and at a level at which the players knew, tolerated and generally accepted," Superintendent Richard Labbe told reporters Monday night. "Based upon what has been substantiated to have occurred, we have canceled the remainder of the football season."
When the words "pervasive" and "on a wide-scale level" enter into it, then you know it's a serious problem. At least this school took the appropriate action, but as a high school student, there is nothing more terrifying than to be bullied at school.
How bad was it? ABC News has more: The Team Lived In Fear
Younger kids on a New Jersey high school's football team were routinely taunted, bullied and intimidated by the older players, often with "sexual overtones," a local official told ABC News. "They would live in fear of seniors and juniors," the official said.
"They would race to the locker room to get changed and get out before the older kids got there." Someone called police last week about the alleged abuse, the official said.
"It was a parent of a younger kid being taunted, threatened, bullied," the official added.
Separately, Charlie Garcia, an assistant coach for the team, was arrested last week on steroid possession charges. He later resigned
And when you're dealing with teenagers, sexual harassing younger students is always at the top of the list.