BUENA, N.J. (WTXF/AP) - An emergency meeting was held Wednesday night after a New Jersey high school wrestler had his dreadlocks cut off minutes before his match after a referee told him to lose the hairstyle or forfeit his bout. The board said the Buena High School wrestling team won't compete in events officiated by referee Alan Maloney.
"We have viewed footage that has gone viral and are deeply troubled by embarrassment and humiliation that our young student athlete endured," Buena Regional School District Superintendent David Cappuccio said.
An emergency school board meeting was held inside the Buena High School library one week after a referee gave 16-year-old Buena wrestler Andrew Johnson an ultimatum on the mat--cut off his dreadlocks in front of a crowd of spectators within 90 seconds or forfeit his wrestling match.
"The blame here is on the referee," Johnson's attorney Dominic Speziali said.
Among the first to speak out during a public comment session was Johnson's attorney Dominic Speziali who is working with the family to dig deeper into what happened.
"It's still not clear to me why it had to happen in that manner to Andrew," Speziali said.
Who is at fault? The school board held a closed-door executive session to discuss that in private. Personnel matters are not public. Speziali says school administrators were present at the wrestling meet and that they failed to get involved.
"He was emotionally drained . He had tears coming down as his dreadlocks cut off," Speziali said.