10 students suspended after football brawl at crosstown Brick game
BRICK — No criminal charges are expected, but 10 students of the township school district have been suspended for their role in a brutal altercation that broke out during Saturday afternoon's football game between rival schools — video of which was caught on a student's cell phone and posted to social media.
Dennis Flilippone, acting superintendent of schools, says school officials know the names of all the students involved, and the length of their suspensions will be determined by the principals of Brick Township High School and Brick Memorial High School.
Other penalties beyond suspension were imposed on certain students, he said.
"Some of the students were athletes — they're not going to be allowed to participate with their teams," Filippone told New Jersey 101.5. "Some are going to be precluded from participating in after-school activities for a significant amount of time."
Filippone noted two students involved in the fight are from a different district; he would not say which.
According to Filippone, the drama launched when students from Brick Township went to the visitor's side and took a flag from the Brick Memorial bleachers that represents the team's defensive squad. When an attempt was made by Brick Memorial to retrieve their flag, a fight ensued.
As part of an effort to eliminate a similar situation in the future — as the schools have developed a bitter rivalry over the years — Filippone said the district is going to "eliminate the flags" at these games.
The district also plans to implement additional security measures during these rival match-ups, including the reorganization of staff so more adults are in the stands with the students.
No students involved in the altercation were under the influence, according to Filippone, but the district will start checking bags and clothing at all home games of both schools, and not allow outside bottles. Alcohol was being consumed by others at the game, News 12 New Jersey reported on air.
"What happened on Saturday was not healthy or appropriate," Filippone said. "And as a school district it is not the way we want our students to represent themselves in public."
Filippone said he wants the principals of both schools to address their student bodies about the importance of character.
"We have wonderful kids here, but we are disappointed in the actions of a few," he said.
Filippone met with the schools' principals, athletic directors, and other members of central administration Tuesday morning. On Monday, he had a conversation with local law enforcement, during which it was determined that all discipline at this time would be school-based.
"We are not charging criminally, but we are still investigating the incident," said Sgt. Neal Pedersen of the Brick Township Police Department. "If anything else comes to light, naturally we can include it."
Kyra Staffa, a township resident whose son played football for Brick Memorial and graduated in 2014, said hopefully this latest incident will serve as "the straw that broke the camel's back," and the rivalry can return to a friendly one like it had been in the past.
"We all live in the same town and really we should all be on the same side," Staffa said. "A fun little friendly rivalry is all well and good, but no one needs to bring violence into it."
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.