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Wall High School Cancels Thanksgiving Day Game, Ends Football Season After Locker Room Hazing Allegations

WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- There was a heated school board meeting Tuesday night as the hazing investigation continues at Wall High School in New Jersey.

The allegations include that football players pinned down and threatened to sexually assault a younger teammate.

As CBS2's Ali Bauman reports, at Tuesday's school board meeting, some parents argued the entire team should not be punished while other claim these accusations are part of a bigger problem.

"You have failed my son and all the other children as well," one parent said.

The community is angry and divided over how the administration is handling accusations of hazing and sexual harassment against student athletes.

"Parents are afraid. It's getting to the point that nobody wants to send their children here, and you can start paying vouchers to go somewhere else," one parent said.

Several employees have been suspended, and now the administration is canceling the Thanksgiving football game, virtually ending the season for the top-ranking team.

"The decision has been made to end the football season and not play the Thanksgiving Day game. We acknowledge that this is difficult news for many in our community," Superintendent Tracy Handerhan wrote. "Please be assured that the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County is working closely with the Wall High School counseling staff supporting students."

The decision comes after school employees were suspended and a playoff and semifinal game were canceled.

The NJEA teachers union confirmed some school employees were placed on administrative leave and have been assigned an attorney.

"We're vilifying the entire football program as a whole for the actions of a few," one parent said.

"Some very good kids made some mistakes," another parent said.

But some current and former students say these latest allegations are part of longstanding issues with the school's culture.

"This happened to my son, my son, and was swept under the carpet," one parent said.

"In the hallways, I see bullying, harassment," one student said.

"How many more students have to die or feel violated in order for you to do your jobs?" another student said.

Eric Duchak graduated from the school in 1997. He spoke at the meeting, saying he was the victim of two locker room assaults.

"No student should have to suffer a humiliation and violation of their person that they feel so deeply that they have to hold it inside for 27 years. It was only after seeing this incident that I was compelled to come forward and realized I could not stay quiet," he said.

The superintendent claims administrators swiftly contacted law enforcement about the allegations.

"We are increasing safety measures at the high school," Handerhan said.

The Monmouth County prosecutor's office is now taking over the criminal investigation into claims with the Wall Police Department stepping back.

"Multiple prosecutors and detectives are diligently working on this matter right now," acting prosecutor Lori Linskey said in a video posted to social media.

One board member resigned at the top of Tuesday's meeting, saying the uproar from parents in recent days has become too much.

The school is offering extra mental health services to students and families.

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