The Record: Letters, Thursday, Oct. 16

State bullying law must be enforced

As schools across New Jersey were celebrating the Week of Respect last week, the troubling details of Sayreville's high school football scandal came to light. The timing just highlights what we already know: Hazing is bullying.

 

In the case of Sayreville, the extreme harassment of football players by their teammates allegedly rose to a criminal level, and we all finally took notice. However, in many schools, student-athletes are hazed to a lesser degree, and it is still accepted as part of the culture of high school athletics. It is seen as a way to bond, an initiation, or a time-honored tradition welcoming new members to the team.

But in reality, hazing is harassment, intimidation and bullying. New Jersey's Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights protects students at all times, whether they are in class, on the field or home on their computers. I am calling on parents, coaches, school officials and, most importantly, students to end the culture of hazing and return the sportsmanship to high school sports.

Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Englewood, Oct. 14

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 37 in the state Assembly and was a sponsor of New Jersey's anti-bullying law.

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