WATCH: Christie calls hazing allegations ‘a nightmare’
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday expressed outrage at allegations of hazing and intimidation surrounding a central New Jersey high school's football team, calling accounts of the conduct "extraordinarily disturbing" and "a nightmare" for parents.
Authorities continue to investigate the behavior at Sayreville War Memorial High School that prompted the schools' superintendent to cancel the rest of the season's games. They have not said what the alleged hazing incidents involved.
Christie told reporters in Trenton on Thursday that, as a father of four, he was especially appalled.
"The facts as reported currently are extraordinarily disturbing and, as the father of a number of teenage athletes, the idea that that kind of conduct could be permitted -- if it's true ... in a high school athletics program, or anywhere else in our state for that matter, is absolutely unacceptable," he said.
On Monday night, Superintendent Richard Labbe announced he was canceling the rest of the season after the Middlesex County prosecutor's office substantiated allegations of hazing involving members of the school's football team. The prosecutor's office hasn't charged anyone and hasn't released details of its investigation.
Christie said he has full confidence in the prosecutor leading the effort and said he has spoken to the attorney general's office and his education commissioner regarding the case and its broader implications.
"If these facts as alleged are true, then this is a nightmare for the parents of those young men. And it tells us something about the attitude that was allowed to pervade in that program. And both of those things need to be addressed, not only specifically in Sayreville, but more broadly across the entire state to ensure that no other young male or female athletes are exposed to that type of treatment," Christie told reporters.
"You think when you send your child to a sporting activity that they're going to be engaged in activity that's positive for them, that's uplifting, that teaches them the right type of lessons. If that's what went on in Sayreville, then that's not what parents were expecting their children to be exposed to or taught, and it's unacceptable," he added.
Parents and students in the blue-collar township near the Raritan Bay have complained that the whole team is being punished. Labbe has stood by his decision and has said the time has come for students and others to step forward when bullying is occurring.
Sayreville War Memorial High School was to have played Monroe on Friday night at home.