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N.J. School Board Upholds Suspensions of Football Coaches Over Hazing Scandal

The Sayreville (N.J.) school district's board of education unanimously voted Tuesday evening to uphold the suspension of five football coaches due to a hazing scandal that emerged earlier this month.

Head coach George Najjar and four other assistants, all of whom are tenured teachers at Sayreville War Memorial High School, were suspended with pay beginning last Thursday, according to NJ Advance Media's Vernal Coleman. Board President Kevin Ciak said the suspensions, which are indefinite, were "consistent with an ongoing and not-yet-completed investigation," per Coleman.

According to Brian Amaral of NJ Advance Media, the board will not file tenure charges against the coaches while the investigation is ongoing. The board also reduced each coach's stipend for coaching duties.

That wasn't the only story of note to come out regarding the Sayreville hazing scandal this week. On Monday, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey told CBS 2's Christine Sloan that he's weighing whether the seven players charged with sex crimes—all of whom are juveniles—should instead be tried as adults.

"We look at the seriousness of the crime. We look at the history of the juvenile involved—as in the defendant. Is this a first-time arrest? Has anything like this happened before?" Carey said. "We also take very seriously the wishes of a victim in a case like this."

The New York Times recently interviewed two of the alleged hazing victims and "multiple witnesses to three attacks," describing the incidents in detail:

All told, four players from the freshman team were set upon between Sept. 19 and 29, often pushed to the locker room floor by a handful of varsity players, when coaches were not around. The older players punched and sometimes kicked the younger ones, pinned them and, at the very least, grabbed their buttocks, the freshmen said. Yet the two victims who spoke to The Times, including one who said he was penetrated from behind with a finger, said they were wearing pants and did not consider what happened to be that serious. A witness to a third attack said the victim was also wearing football pants. The Times did not talk to anyone who saw the fourth attack.

All seven players facing charges have been suspended from school for the time being.

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