Wall, NJ hazing scandal: Extra paid supervision added to locker rooms
WALL — A new position at Wall High School will ensure that there is always supervision in the locker room at the beginning and end of the school day.
The Board of Education approved the position of locker room/team room supervisor unanimously during their meeting of Feb. 15. The position is open to certified employees of the district or those who hold a substitute certificate and pays $25 per hour to open and close the locker rooms between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and again between 2:02 and 2:32 p.m.
Is the new position is a reaction to the hazing allegations against members of the school football team?
"I would say the district and administration are constantly looking at the functionality of the school and making improvements and making sure there's adult supervision everywhere at all times," Board of Education President Ralph Addonizio told New Jersey 101.5.
Addonzio and members of the Board of Education, Superintendent Tracey Handerhan, the football coaching staff and other administrators have been served with three notices of tort claims, the required first step when filing a lawsuit against a public entity.
The lawsuits allege that because of their "carelessness, recklessness and negligence" that left the locker room unsupervised, members of the team were able to "viciously assault/batter" a classmate whose name is redacted in a copy of the tort.
"The assault/battery was not stopped or otherwise interrupted at any time by any employee despite the fact that said classmates has subjected other members of Wall High School's varsity football team to similar assault/batteries on multiple prior occasions."
All the members of the team are under the age of 18 and are being charged with juvenile criminal complaints charging the students with hazing, attempted criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact, false imprisonment, and harassment.
Accommodating early arrivals
The new position formalizes supervision of student-athletes who need access to the locker room before and after school, according to Board of Education President Ralph Addonizio. Spring sports like lacrosse, golf, baseball and softball use larger equipment bags that don't fit in regular lockers. Juniors and seniors who drive themselves to school often arrive early before any staff is present.
"It's to make sure there's always a presence in the locker rooms for the kids to drop stuff off. At the end of the day so many of the coaching staff are employees in the district sometimes kids have their last period off for a study hall so when the bell rings they're right down to the locker room," Addonizio told New Jersey 101.5.
Coaches who are also teachers have obligations to help students after school in their classroom and are not able to go to the locker rooms and begin their coaching responsibilities right away.
"It's to ensure that someone is there to open the locker room for them and also that someone is there when they're changing making sure everything's good," Addonizio said.
The Wall Education Association also had to approve the position which represents an adjustment to the collective negotiations agreement.