Charged Wayne Hills Football Players Barred From Playing
Interim schools chief Michael Roth issues statement on decision.
Interim Superintendent Michael Roth ruled Wednesday that the nine Wayne Hills football players charged with aggravated assault may not participate in extracurricular activities, including the team's next game in the state playoffs Friday in Wayne against Paramus.
“I have determined that the students charged by the police may not participate in any extracurricular activity including sports from this day to a time to be determined based on facts, information, or legal decisions,” Roth said in the statement.
The players, including star receiver Andrew Monaghan, 18, were charged with aggravated assault after allegedly attacking two Wayne Valley High School students on Urban Club Road on Oct. 29, Police Chief John Reardon previously said.
Reardon said the boys were walking on Urban Club Road when the Hills students drove up in an SUV and perhaps another vehicle, got out and assaulted the Valley students.
Roth allowed the players to participate in the team’s first-round state playoff game against Vernon Friday. Wayne Hills won 48-0.
At least one Hills students agreed with the decision.
“I think the decision is absolutely fair,” said Kaival Shastri, a sophomore. “They should definitely be punished for what they did.”
Board of Education President Donald Pavlak Jr. and Hills Principal Scot Beckerman could not be reached for comment.
Robyn Kingston, a board of education trustee, said she “totally and wholeheartedly supports the superintendent’s decision.”
Kingston, who has three sons, said that the incident is “very upsetting.”
“It’s alarming when you see a child severely harmed by another child,” Kingston said.
Head football coach and director of athletics Chris Olsen could not be reached for comment.
Roth's statement in full:
November 16, 2011
Wayne is a wonderful community and provides its children with an excellent school system - a system that helps students reach their academic potential and build positive social development.
There is considerable attention being given to a serious situation involving students who attend the Wayne Public Schools and what should be the appropriate action for a school system to take.
On the evening of October 29, 2011, it was reported to the police that there was a social gathering at a private home and that during that evening an assault took place resulting in injuries to students. The Wayne Police Department began an investigation. The incident is a continuing criminal investigation by the Wayne Police Department. A police investigation takes precedence and a school system is not to do anything to interfere with their investigation.
On Wednesday, November 9th, just prior to the four day weekend when schools were closed for the New Jersey Teachers' Convention, the district was notified by the Police Department that a specific number of Wayne Hills High School students would be charged with third degree aggravated assault. After reviewing the New Jersey Administrative Code, Board of Education policies/regulations and having little empirical data, an initial administrative decision was made not to move forward with a precipitous decision to remove students from their participation in any extra-curricular activities.
With legal advisement and knowledge of recent case law, coupled with a ruling of a previous Acting Commissioner of Education on the topic of extracurricular activities and student behaviors outside of school, as found in Legal Clips from the article, School district's policy that allows officials to deny students participation in extracurricular activities based on off-campus conduct violates New Jersey law.
"The acting New Jersey Commissioner of Education has ruled that a school district's regulation that allows its board to bar a student from participating in extracurricular activities based on the student's off-campus conduct exceeds the authority given to school districts under the state Administrative Code," the decision to allow the students to participate in extra-curricular activities on Friday, November 11th pending receipt of more information was made.
On Monday, November 14, 2011, schools reopened and the Administration had the opportunity to review and assess the matter with the advantage of having more school based information. In addition, on the morning of November 15, 2011 the Superintendent ascertained that the charges of third degree aggravated assault against the students continued to be sustained.
This information coupled with a thorough review of applicable Administrative Code and final review of all the facts known to the Superintendent, I have determined that the students charged by the police may not participate in any extracurricular activity including sports from this day to a time to be determined based on facts, information or legal decisions.
Students and their families have all rights provided by law related to this decision.
Wayne Public Schools