by BRIANNA SICILIANO Social Media Coordinator
After the arrest of a Sayreville assistant coach on steroid charges, a Sayreville War Memorial High School football player’s parent stepped forward to report hazing practices that were reoccurring in the freshman football team’s locker room.
By definition, hazing is a power trip that humiliates, degrades, and shames players of sports teams. It creates division and lifelong nightmares to players that are being abused.
According to the anonymous parent who stepped forward, the hazing and sexual abuse that the freshman football players suffered from was initiated when an upperclassman would enter the locker room and make a wolf call or howling noise.
“[For] 10 seconds, the lights would go off and [the upperclassmen] would grab a freshman and they would go on [and lift the victim to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum. Sometimes, the same finger was then shoved into the freshman player’s mouth] right on the floor….It was happening everyday. They would get the freshmen. Kids would just sit around and witness [stuff] like this,” the parent said.
Detectives from the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office and the Sayreville Police are investigating every allegation, but have refused to reveal specifics about the case. Parents are in the process of retaining attorneys while their sons are being questioned by police.
Parents send their children to school so that they can receive an education and participate in activities in a safe environment. After learning about the sexual abuse and hazing that was happening in the locker room, many Sayreville parents and students feel the total opposite of safe.
“I actually think it is disgusting how those boys were able to sexually harass the freshman boys for a good period of time before someone finally spoke up. Why didn’t a bystander speak up? Why didn’t an upperclassmen realize that what he was doing was wrong? The coaches had to be aware of what was happening, right? Shouldn’t coaches know what is going on in their locker room?” said senior Marie Compitello.
The hazing allegations have turned Sayreville’s community completely upside down. Sayreville’s football team, nicknamed the Bombers, has made the playoffs in each of the past 20 seasons, and Sayreville has won three state championships in the past four years.
“It is disappointing that upperclassmen football players thought that this was okay to do, but it raises a major question: were the upperclassmen sexually abused as freshmen? How long has this scandal been going on?” asked junior Frank Sigismondo.
Sayreville Bombers were supposed to play against our school’s football team on Friday, October 10, but Sayreville’s 2014 football season has been canceled.
“We can set the standard right now for all kids for all school districts in Middlesex County, in the state, and in that nation that we are not going to stand around and allow kids to do this to one another. We are going to start holding our students responsible for doing the right thing and reporting these kinds of behaviors. I believe with every fiber of my body that the only way we are going to stop bullying is if we get the kids to go to an adult or to authorities. We need our kids to stop being bystanders and start being upstanders, [and encourage these students] to report it when someone is harassing, intimidating, and bullying one of their peers,” said Sayreville schools’ Superintendent Riche Labbe.
Although many people in Sayreville are upset with the football cancellation, it is important to realize that safety and health come first.
What do you think about this entire scandal? Do you think the coaches knew what was happening?