Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Suspension Rule Raises Eyebrows

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Suspension Rule Raises Eyebrows

Article excerpt

WAYNE -- A Wayne Valley football player suspended for two games for a May incident that occurred during school hours at Wayne Valley was allowed to participate in the second regular-season game, a 23- 17 upset of rival Wayne Hills on Sept. 14.

He completed his suspension Friday night by sitting out the Indians' 50-14 home win against Passaic.

In accordance with the Wayne Board of Education's code of conduct for pupils participating in interscholastic athletics, the suspended player, who cannot be identified because he is a minor, was required to miss team practices and competition for 20 percent of the next season in which he participated. Wayne Valley is scheduled to play a nine-game regular season.

The district's code of conduct was updated in April to address a widely publicized controversy last season involving nine members of the Wayne Hills football team.

The updated policy does not explicitly state that suspensions must come in successive games, but several Wayne schools officials, including Wayne superintendent Raymond A. Gonzalez, declined to offer an interpretation of the policy that might've clarified how the player in question's suspension skipped Week 2.

Donald Pavlak Jr., the Wayne Board of Education president, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Wayne schools athletic director Mike Miello was in Paris on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Wayne Valley coach Brian O'Connor confirmed that the player was suspended for the West Milford game Sept. 7 and the Passaic game Friday night, but otherwise declined comment. According to multiple sources, the player was temporarily suspended from school, but school officials would not discuss the incident due to privacy laws.

Wayne Hills coach Chris Olsen declined comment when reached by phone.

The suspensions of the nine Wayne Hills players, stemming from an assault on two Wayne Valley students Oct. …

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