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Mailing Address: PO Box 309, Buena, NJ 08310
Administrative Office: 914 Main Avenue, Richland, NJ 08350
Phone (856) 697-0800 Fax (856) 697-4963
Honoring Tradition. Inspiring Futures.


Courtney McNeely ​Superintendent Pasquale Yacovelli, SFO
Director of Curriculum & Instruction Business Admin./Board Secretary
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dear School Community Members and Concerned Citizens:

I am writing to provide an update relative to the recent situation involving a Buena Regional High School wrestler. Since
my initial correspondence on Friday, December 21, 2018 the district has conducted an internal investigation into the
matter and administrative action has been taken. Additionally, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association
(NJSIAA), as well as the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, are conducting investigations relative to allegations of
racial bias and the occurrences surrounding the evening of the wrestling match on December 19, 2018. My office has
been in communication with both agencies to express the concerns of the district in this matter, as well as our willingness
to cooperate with their investigations to the fullest extent. The district will take any further necessary action pending
receipt of these investigation results.

On Tuesday, January 8, 2019 our administration received information which raised concerns regarding the lack of
consistent application and interpretation of the current wrestling rules, specifically Rule 4-2-1 involving wrestlers’ hair.
The district immediately sought assistance from the NJSIAA, which in turn, made contact with the National Federation of
State High School Associations (NFHS). The NFHS is the governing body that makes final decisions relative to rule
interpretation disputes. The NJSIAA informed our district that the National Rules Interpreter from the NFHS would be
providing a written clarification regarding the interpretation of Rule 4-2-1. As of early afternoon yesterday, January 9,
2019, our district had not yet received that written statement of clarification. Given the time constraints facing the district
with an impending wrestling match scheduled for that evening, and after consultation with our high school administration,
I determined that it was in the best interests of our student-athletes and staff to postpone the wrestling match. Without
written clarification relative to the interpretation of Rule 4-2-1, I was not willing to allow our student-athletes to be
subjected to any potential dispute, embarrassment, or mis-application of the rule.

Later in the afternoon on January 9, 2019 the district did receive a copy of the written statement from the NFHS National
Wrestling Rules Interpreter. The statement clarifies that Rule 4-2-1 is “solely based on length, not style” of hair. Our
administration was informed that every chapter of wrestling officials associations, as well as every individual wrestling
official, has been informed of this clarification. Given our receipt of this information, it is our intent for our team to
re-engage in competition immediately.

The district and its administration will continue to work with the NJSIAA and the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights to
ensure that all facts are uncovered relative to this situation, and will take action accordingly. We will continue to work to
support and advocate for the safety and well-being for all of our students.

Yours in education,