New Jersey News

Students arrested for assault allowed to play

Friday, November 18, 2011

There's a bitter controversy at a high school in New Jersey.

Nine football players have been suspended and not allowed on the field for Friday night's playoff game.

All of them are accused of assaulting two kids from another school.

Let them play and let the law decide their fate; that's the message parents and coaches gave Wayne's Board of Education Thursday night.

"Nobody condones fighting that's a given. This week has been a nightmare; the last 10 days have been a nightmare. I go to practice and see the kids and realize why I do it. I've gotten all kinds of emails. Most anonymous, most cowards," said Chris Olsen, the coach of the Wayne Hills football team.

Police say Wayne Valley football players got into an argument with two students at a party in late October.

The two students were allegedly beaten, knocked to the ground, and then stomped on and kicked.

One was allegedly knocked unconscious for several minutes.

Both students were hurt and hospitalized.

So police arrested nine Wayne Hills football players and charged with aggravated assault.

"I see the town torn in half. I don't know all the facts. There was a fight I think. There was a fight, right? No remorse for the fight. I'm hearing, 'We should be allowed to play'. I want to hear 'I'm sorry', said Mark Salviano, a parent.

Immediately after the fight, board members explained they were disappointed but that case law forbids them from intervening.

They said districts can't prevent players' participation because of something that happened off school grounds.

Then Wednesday, the interim superintendent decided the arrested players may not participate in extracurricular activities including the seven time state champs' next game in the state playoffs Friday against Paramus.

"The way that's it's been bungled by the superintendent. Do an independent investigation not based solely on arrest and charges," said Jim Freezewich, a parent.

Despite the ruling from the superintendent, the players were allowed to play in Friday night's game.

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