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Following N.J. Hazing Scandal, Ex-Football Coach Reinstated as Teacher

This past fall, Sayreville War Memorial (N.J.) High School cut its football season short amid horrific hazing allegations. The district's board of education unanimously voted to uphold the suspension of five football coaches in October, although all but the head coach, George Najjar, were reinstated to their teaching positions in November.

During a meeting last Tuesday, the Sayreville board of education voted to reinstated Najjar, who has been a physical education teacher in the district for the past 20 years, according to Greg Tufaro of MyCentralJersey.com. He will not continue teaching at Sayreville High School, however, instead being transferred to Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School. The elementary school's phys. ed. teacher, Richard Tola, will be moved to the high school.

According to Vernal Coleman of NJ Advance Media, the board of education voted unanimously to move Najjar to the elementary school, also electing to withhold his scheduled incremental salary increase for the 2015-16 school year. Earlier this month, the district posted a notice to its website seeking applications for the high school head football coaching position, per Coleman, signaling an end to Najjar's 20-year tenure at the helm of the program.

At the board meeting, Superintendent Richard Labbe also introduced proposed revisions to the district's policies for student-athletes. If enacted, student-athletes would be required to sign a behavior contract each season, which would include an anti-hazing clause, and complete a training program on harassment, intimidation, bullying, and hazing annually. Parents of student-athletes would be required to co-sign the behavioral contracts and attend a mandatory meeting that includes training about harassment, intimidation, bullying, and hazing.

Under the proposed changes, coaches would also be required to complete Global Compliance Network training modules for harassment, intimidation, bullying, and hazing; attend a mandatory coaches' meeting facilitated by the school's athletic director or his or her designee; and "coordinator, present, and facilitate a team parent and/or student meeting," which must provide training on harassment, intimidation, bullying, and hazing.

According to Susan Loyer of MyCentralJersey.com, a second reading of the proposed changes is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3.

"As demonstrated by the policy revisions that our board approved this evening for a first reading, we are dedicated to continually educating all members of our school community on what harassment, intimidation, and bullying is, particularly in extracurricular and athletic activities, and what their moral, ethical, and legal obligations are in addressing it," Labbe said on Tuesday, per Loyer. "The safety and well-being of our students is always our highest priority."

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