Education

Watchung Hills Board Member Resigns, Senior Cheerleaders Voice Concerns

Watchung Hills Board Member Resigns, Senior Cheerleaders Voice Concerns Credits: B. Nemcek
Watchung Hills Board Member Resigns, Senior Cheerleaders Voice Concerns Credits: B. Nemcek

WARREN, NJ - Watchung Hills Regional High School Board of Education member Glen Mastrobattista of Warren resigned at the meeting on Tuesday night after public commentary regarding the varsity cheer team.

Eight senior girls have quit the team and many of the girls and their parents spoke during public commentary alleging code of conduct and Title IX violations  in the way they were treated after they expressed their opinions. 

One of the seniors said,"as seniors, we didn't quit, we stood up for what is right." The seniors voiced frustration with the coach and at the school for "silencing our concerns,"and said that " breaking the code of conduct and unsportsmanlike conduct was rewarded as captain worthy." 

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Mastrobattista said he "stands with the girls and tenders his resignation from the board effective immediately."

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Parent Josephine Wilson thanked the younger members of the cheer team in attendance for their support and said to the board," I beg you to find out what happened."

After the meeting, Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett, Director of Athletics Chris Van Vliet and Board members Robert Morrison, Sondra Fechtner and Bruce Martins, met with the seniors and their parents for about an hour to listen to their concerns and come to a shared understanding of how to move forward.

"They are a very articulate group of young women, and I am appreciative of the support of their parents in trying to resolve the ongoing conflict," Jewett said.  "We have more work to do tomorrow and in the future, but we are hopeful we can have a successful remainder of the season that includes the participation of our seniors."

"There are certainly issues that were raised tonight that deserve additional follow-up," said Board president Morrison. "In the mean time, after productive conversations with the team members and their parents I am hopeful the situation may be resolved to get the team back on the field so our seniors may enjoy this special year. That is certainly my goal, the goal of my fellow board members and the administration.”

If a student, parent, or member of the public thinks they have a complaint in regard to HIB, contact Mrs. Angelastro as indicated below:

School Anti-Bullying Specialist
Cathy Angelastro (cangelastro@whrhs.org )
908-647-4800 ext. 4860

Mastrobattista declined to comment at this time.

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