Thanks to NJ.com's Shabe for passing along this story that was posted last night by Mike Kinney and Mark Mueller of The Star-Ledger.
Two suburban schools refuse trips to Newark for football
Two suburban high schools refused to play football games tonight in Newark, citing worries about safety after a spate of drive-by shootings in the city Friday left two people dead and another injured.Sure, Newark has made strides in reducing violent crime. But fact is, it's still a major issue. For the life of me, though, I can't understand how officials, who are well aware of the area's troubles, can be in such denial in regards to childrens' safety.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and Cranford High School balked at playing games rescheduled from last Friday and Saturday. Newark school Superintendent Clifford Janey had suspended all athletic events districtwide while police were hunting for suspects in the Friday afternoon shootings.
The decisions by the suburban schools underscored Newark's struggle to shake its reputation as an unsafe city, even as it has seen far fewer homicides this year than last year. The city has recorded 52 slayings so far this year, compared with 83 over the same period a year ago.A Newark city spokeswoman, Esmeralda Diaz Cameron, called the schools' choice "unfortunate.":
"This past Friday's shootings were not random acts of violence and did not occur on the premises of any of our schools. Newark is the largest city in the state, and over the past two years we've made dramatic progress in fighting crime. Newark is currently the number one city in the country for violent crime reduction, and we have had a 40 percent reduction in crime compared to last year's statistics."Shabazz athletic director Faheem Ellis: "That's not fair to our home fans and the people of Newark. And it's definitely not fair to our kids. We have plenty of protection at our home games in Newark. It is not an unsafe situation for an opposing team."
While Central High School agreed to a neutral field in keeping with a decision by the Mountain Valley Conference of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, Shabazz athletic director Faheem Ellis rejected a similar decision by the NJSIAA's Watchung Conference.
In a perfect world, the City teams and the Suburban ones would put aside differences, play their game, band together ala the Wanderers/Del Bombers and take it to these gang bangers Ducky Boy-style.