New Jersey

NJ Students Allegedly Tormented During Girls' School Basketball Game

Both school districts involved condemned the alleged behavior

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An investigation is underway after at least two students allegedly endured hateful comments during a girl's basketball game between Lakewood and Barnegat schools in New Jersey, officials said Thursday.

One of the girls was allegedly taunted throughout the game against Barnegat as being "homeless" because she didn't have basketball sneakers, while the other was allegedly tormented about being Black during the contest, officials said.

Both of the "very upset students" reported what happened to their coaches, the Lakewood School District said, adding it does not tolerate such treatment.

Bias incident reports have been filed with the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) and the Barnegat School District, Lakewood said.

The superintendent of the Barnegat Township School District said the type of behavior alleged "is not tolerated" within its schools and it is "working to determine the validity of these accusations."

"This comes as a complete shock to the district and our team," Barnegat Township School District Superintendent Brian Latwis said in a statement. "Ideally, these allegations would have been brought to the attention of the referees and coaches during the game so they could be addressed immediately."

"We take these allegations very seriously and have a detailed harassment, intimidation and bullying policy in place," Latwis added.

Lakewood school's counsel is also reviewing the matter, a spokesperson said.

In the meantime, basketball sneakers are being purchased for its girls' team, as 10 of the 19 players don't have appropriate footwear, the Lakewood official added.

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