WALL TOWNSHIP — The Wall High School varsity football team has been withdrawn from a scheduled Thanksgiving Day game against Manasquan, which immediately confirmed that it will host Shore Regional instead.
“The decision has been made to end the football season and not play the Thanksgiving Day game,” Wall Superintendent Tracy R. Handerhan announced in a letter emailed to the district’s school community. “We acknowledge that this is difficult news for many in our community.”
An ongoing criminal investigation of alleged sexual assault in the guise of hazing had already caused the school district to withdraw the team from a playoff game last Friday. It had also cast a cloud over the traditional holiday game in Manasquan, as well the entire Wall football program.
The matter is expected to be the focus of a public meeting of the Wall Township Board of Education tonight, [Tuesday] at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
In her letter Tuesday, the superintendent went on to repeat the district’s plan to provide counseling for students at the high school who are dealing with the stress and other consequences of the investigation, including the explosion of social media speculation and rumor, as well as media “misinformation” that she had criticized in an earlier letter.
“Please be assured that the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County is working closely with the Wall High School counseling staff supporting students,” her letter states. “If you know of a student that is in need of support please do not hesitate in reaching out …”
The Thanksgiving Day game is a holiday tradition for Manasquan, which had already begun formulating a contingency plan to salvage the event when Wall cancelled out of it Friday, Nov. 12 playoff game against Delsea Regional High School.
Shore Regional, which had already been eliminated from the playoffs, was confirmed Tuesday by the Manasquan High School football program as the new Thanksgiving Day opponent immediately after the Wall announcement.
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