After hazing-related suspensions, Wall’s school board approves hiring of substitutes, interim athletic director


Driving up the monetary cost of a high school football hazing scandal that rocked Wall Township, the school board on Tuesday night approved several hires to replace staff on paid leave, including an interim athletic director who will be paid $ 600 per day.

The Wall Township Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the hiring of the interim athletic director and other hazing-related hires among several other staff movements listed in a human resources report.

There was no discussion of hiring before the vote, which was itself one of 28 consent agenda items voted on en masse.

Several people at the meeting said they were drawn to the hazing scandal. They included teachers supporting other staff who had been put on leave; a taxpayer hoping to learn more about the new hires, which were reported by NJ Advance Media on Tuesday morning; and a longtime resident and former student of Wall’s public schools who said she was embarrassed by the scandal.

“It’s embarrassing, it’s terrible,” said Carol Varady, Wall resident and civilian worker at Fort Monmouth, who sympathized with the football players who were not involved but nevertheless missed at least two games when the season ended early due to the scandal.

“To punish the whole team when, from what I’ve read, only a few players were involved,” Varady said.

“But where were the coaches? She added. “Do they have some sort of policy regarding having someone in the locker room?” “

Earlier in the evening, Wall Schools Superintendent Tracy Handerhan pleaded with the press and the public to understand that district officials were “legally barred” from discussing the hazing case and were not trying to downplay the allegations or sweep anything under the rug. Handerhan added that the district had worked with mental health professionals to ensure that students were not harmed by the scandal and other issues.

“I ask everyone, including the media, to remember that the matter at hand involves children,” Handerhan said at the meeting, which was attended by about 75 members of the public, as well as several reporters and Wall Township High School television crews. cafeteria.

Two high school girls who later addressed the board of directors angrily contradicted Handerhan’s claim that student mental health was a top priority for the district.

Under the Human Resources Report approved by Consent, the Board of Directors appointed Nicholas Pizzulli as “Athletics Consultant” from Jan. 1 to June 30, at a rate of $ 600 per day. Pizzulli, a longtime and well-respected sports administrator, also took over as interim sports director following the Sayreville hazing scandal in 2015.

Wall High School athletic director Tom Ridoux was put on administrative leave in November, joining three other district staff who have also been suspended due to fallout from ongoing investigations.

In addition, the three other suspended district employees who are paid football coaches are expected to have their winter coach appointments canceled on Tuesday evening. Six faculty members will also receive a total of over $ 18,000 in additional stipends to teach an additional period of physical and health education.

Some Wall residents have criticized the district’s handling of the scandal, including some who were in attendance at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Critics have insisted the hazing allegations are part of a larger pattern of bullying and other abuse across the Wall community, although Handerhan and the Monmouth County District Attorney’s office have promised a thorough investigation of the allegations.

As a result, seven Wall High School football players were suspended for 10 days last month for “hazing and conduct unbecoming a student,” according to a November suspension list obtained by NJ Advance Media. The board did not discuss the suspensions on Tuesday.

The dates of the suspensions ranged from November 10 to 24 – days after allegations of hazing within the Wall High football program were first reported. The Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the hazing charges, as well as separate allegations of multiple sexual assaults against female students at the school.

Wall High School senior Cameron Murphy addressed the school board on Tuesday evening, insisting there was a lack of mental health services for students. “You didn’t do anything,” she told the board. His remarks contrasted with a previous assurance, Superintendent Tracy Handerhan, that the district had worked with the Monmouth County Mental Health Association to provide services. Aristide Economopoulos | Advanced NJ Media

NJ Advance Media staff writer Matthew Stanmyre contributed to this report.

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Steve Strunsky can be reached at [email protected]


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