Future of football team rocked by hazing unclear

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Sayreville War Memorial High - updated 10/12/14
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Future of football team rocked by hazing unclear
People hold candles as they gather for an anti-bullying rally Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town has been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
People hold candles as they gather for an anti-bullying rally Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town has been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A person holds a candle as they join others at an anti-bullying rally Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J.The central New Jersey town has been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A person wears a ribbon and a Sayreville shirt as hundreds of people gathered for an anti-bullying rally unday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town that's been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
People hold candles as they gather for an anti-bullying rally Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town has been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Students hold candles and balloons as they join hundreds of people gathering in the setting sun, for an anti-bullying rally unday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J.The central New Jersey town thas been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Hundreds of people gather in the setting sun, for an anti-bullying rally Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town that's been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A woman wears a Sayreville Bombers football team jacket as hundreds of people gathered for an anti-bullying rally unday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town that's been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Organizer Maureen Jenkins, bottom second left, reads for a statement as hundreds of people gather for an anti-bullying rally Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. The central New Jersey town that's been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Hundreds of people gather in the setting sun, for an anti-bullying rally unday, Oct. 12, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J.The central New Jersey town thas been rocked by allegations of hazing on its football team that prompted the cancellation of the rest of the season. Organizers say the goal of the event is to promote unity and healing within the community, as well as to show support for the victims of bullying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Vigil held for victims of Sayreville High School football hazing. #1010WINS http://t.co/IvCQATeUFc
The real Sayreville. Photos from @JTowlen http://t.co/S5lLhK94vB http://t.co/p9FnKqDLKh
PHOTOS: Sayreville vigil marks beginning of healing process http://t.co/VmWvjRJv9W via @MyCentralJersey @MyCJ_Sports http://t.co/kXmpMad9oY
#sayrevillestrong 1000 people united for our town. This is Sayreville. http://t.co/7G26wtCzfJ
Residents gather at a local park for a vigil following the alleged hazing at Sayreville HS. #SayrevilleStrong http://t.co/yfXvhPwc0l
Sayreville residents gather for a vigil for the victims of the alleged assaults. #SayrevilleStrong http://t.co/PQXqcKDO9K
Hundreds in Sayreville NJ turn out for rally in support of victims of a football hazing scandal @CBSNewYork http://t.co/17FLeAS9Da
Seven charged in Sayreville High School hazing case http://t.co/AlREAWZf3L http://t.co/7fZ2Jo22iH
A roadside sign displays the Sayreville War Memorial High School football team schedule on Main Street in Sayreville, N.J., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Seven students were charged with sex crimes in connection with a series of assaults amid an investigation into hazing by the high school football team, which already led to the cancellation of the rest of the season, authorities said. Six of the seven students, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested Friday night, and the seventh was being sought, police and prosecutors said. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Banners for state championships for the Sayreville War Memorial High School football team are lined up on a sign along Main Street in Sayreville, N.J., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Seven students were charged with sex crimes in connection with a series of assaults amid an investigation into hazing by the high school football team, which already led to the cancellation of the rest of the season, authorities said. Six of the seven students, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested Friday night, and the seventh was being sought, police and prosecutors said. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Raindrops fall on a puddle on a lot where a sign with the Sayreville War Memorial High School football team schedule is listed along Main Street in Sayreville, N.J., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Seven students were charged with sex crimes in connection with a series of assaults amid an investigation into hazing by the high school football team, which already led to the cancellation of the rest of the season, authorities said. Six of the seven students, ranging in age from 15 to 17, were arrested Friday night, and the seventh was being sought, police and prosecutors said. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
The entrance to Sayreville War Memorial High School is shown Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. Officials at a school, which has won three sectional titles over the past four years, canceled the football season amid allegations of harassment, intimidation and bullying among players. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Sayreville War Memorial High School senior Kishan Patel, 17, stops to answer questions from the medai as he leaves school Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. A reported hazing incident that "went too far" and is at the center of the investigation into the high school football team that has resulted in the cancellation of the school's football season. Patel said when investigation is done, the cancellation of the school's football season will be seen as an overreaction. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Sayreville War Memorial High School senior Kishan Patel, 17, stops to answer questions from the medai as he leaves school Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. A reported hazing incident that "went too far" and is at the center of the investigation into the high school football team that has resulted in the cancellation of the school's football season. Patel said when investigation is done, the cancellation of the school's football season will be seen as an overreaction. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Sayreville War Memorial High School senior Kishan Patel, 17, walks past the entrance to the high school, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Sayreville, N.J. Officials at a school, which has won three sectional titles over the past four years, canceled the football season amid allegations of harassment, intimidation and bullying among players. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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SAYREVILLE, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey school superintendent who canceled a high school football season after allegations of hazing among students said he is weighing whether to restore the program after this season.

Sayreville Superintendent Richard Labbe told NJ.com that he's not sure the football program at Sayreville War Memorial High School will return based on the severity of the charges leveled against seven players on Friday.

"I will say clearly: Whether we have a football program moving forward is certainly a question in my mind," Labbe said. "Based upon the severity of the charges, I'm not sure."

Labbe said he has to look at the results of the investigation and is waiting for more information from the Middlesex County prosecutor's office.

Seven students face sex-crime charges stemming from the alleged hazing. Three were charged with aggravated sexual assault, criminal restraint, hazing and other crimes stemming from an act of sexual penetration upon one of the children. The other four students were charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact and other crimes.

District officials said Sunday that all seven have been suspended.

"I just think that based upon everything that has occurred, I just need to make sure that we recognize what football is," Labbe said. "It's just a game. And as soon as it becomes more than just a game, it opens up to situations like this."

NJ High School Football Program May Be Facing Longer Suspension

Hundreds of people turned out for a rally Sunday night that sought to promote unity and healing within the community and show support for the victims of bullying.

The rally was staged in a park across the street from the school, Sayreville War Memorial High.

"We need to come together to support each other, our children, our community and most especially the young men who spoke up," organizer Maureen Jenkins said in an emotional speech.

Participants were given balloons, ribbons, stickers and candles. They were asked to walk around the lake at Kennedy Park and release the balloons or show other forms of support.

Alex Simon, 24, a Sayreville native who recently moved to Connecticut to attend law school, said he came home for the event to show support for his community. Simon attended schools in the town and served for a time as a substitute teacher in the school district.

"This will be a long recovery process for our community, but this is a good first step," Simon said of the rally. "I've talked with lots of people (about the hazing claims) and they were upset about it, but I think this event is a good way to start getting things better. I've always loved this town and will always support it."

At least one player on the football team attended the rally. Junior Justin Quitanilla arrived with his family wearing a Sayreville high school game jersey, NJ.com reported.

Asked why more players did not attend, Quitanilla said many of those he approached were "afraid of what others would think about them if they did."

"I'm just here to show support," he said. "Sayreville strong."

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