High school cancels football season over bullying

PARLIN, N.J. (AP) — A central New Jersey town is reeling after its high school football season was cut short by allegations of bullying and harassment among players.

Sayreville War Memorial High has been a powerhouse, winning three sectional titles in the last four years.

On Monday night, school district officials canceled the rest of the season after speaking with the county prosecutor’s office, which is conducting an investigation into the bullying allegations.

The prosecutor’s office hasn’t released any details and didn’t respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.

The school superintendent says there was evidence of pervasive harassment, intimidation and bullying.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Officials at a central New Jersey high school that has won three sectional titles over the past four years canceled the football season amid allegations of harassment, intimidation and bullying among players.

Sayreville school officials 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 Thursday 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.”

Labbe said he could not discuss the investigation, and the prosecutor’s office has declined to release any details. No charges have been filed. Labbe said Prosecutor Andrew Carey told him there is credible evidence to back up the allegations of bullying and harassment within the program.

Also last week, an assistant football coach at the high school resigned amid allegations that he possessed steroids. Labbe said at the time that the allegations against the former defensive coordinator were the focus of a separate investigation and were not related to the cancellation of last week’s game.

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