“I feel for these kids," board member John Walsh told local media after the vote. "But we have a moral, legal and ethical obligation to ensure the safety of every student, and that supersedes any extracurricular activity."
As NBC reported:
Senior Derek Rodriguez is disappointed that his high school football career came to such a sudden, surprising end. "Now we're not going to have that closure of going out and finishing our senior year," Rodriguez said. "It got taken from us, from something we didn't even know was going on."
The decision to cancel the rest of the reason is sparking outrage in the community, although many observers, including NJ Advance Media columnist Steve Politi, applauded Sayreville superintendent Richard Labbe and the school board for their courage.
Here is a short excerpt from
Politi's column on NJ.com:
Unthinkable, isn't it? But there they were, gathered outside of the Sayreville Board of Education building, ripping the man who showed leadership in the face of a crisis in one of his schools.
"The innocent did nothing wrong and they are punished," said Theresa Tamburri, whose daughter is a freshman cheerleader at the school. "(Labbe) is to me, he is wrong on doing this. What are we supposed to do? This is football season, and this is in our blood in this town."
The entire quote is incredible, but the first part makes you want to stand on your desk and scream. You know who was innocent and did nothing wrong? The kids that may have been hazed, that's who. They're the ones who might have to live with the emotional scars for the rest of their lives, and forgive me if that seems a bit more important than the game against Piscataway.