Salem County Wrestling Team’s Season Canceled After Hazing Arrests
PITTSGROVE — With four members of the Schalick High School wrestling team facing criminal charges related to a hazing incident, the season has been canceled for the Cougars.
The students were accused of stripping a student in the shower, restraining him and threatening to assault him with a broomstick. State Police and the Salem County Prosecutor's Office are investigating the incident.
The four students were arrested and charged as juveniles with aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, criminal restraint, hazing, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and other related offenses.
In an email obtained by NJ.com, superintendent Scott Hoopes told parents the school board discussed the matter and both the board and the administration agreed to call off the season. It wasn't clear when the board met to discuss the matter; the last scheduled board meeting on the district website was Dec. 20.
The Daily Journal reported that following an executive session during its Dec. 20 meeting, the board announced that two coaches and other students not charged in the case had been suspended. The board also announced at that meeting the season was suspended.
Hoopes' initial statement about the incident said "corrective action" had been taken against students and staff.
It wasn't immediately clear from a statement issued by Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan whether the wrestlers threatened to sexually assault their teammate or threatened to beat him. Lenahan has not released additional information.
The incident was one of two in December involving New Jersey high school wrestling teams. Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson had his dreadlocks cut during a match after a referee said he would have to forfeit if he did not. The wrestler had worn a cover on his headgear at previous matches without incident.