Thursday, May 21, 2015


Larry Busichio
Recent concerns about alleged bullying and mistreatment of athletes on some Columbia High School teams, including specific claims against baseball coach Joseph Fischetti, prompted a lengthy review of the district's anti-bullying policy at Monday's school board meeting.

See the policy HERE.

During that review, CHS Athletic Director Larry Busichio took up the issue and addressed the board with a statement in which he defended the athletic department's actions, but also apologized if any student or parent felt mistreated.

See his statement below:

As the Athletic and Activities Director, I want all of our athletes to have the best athletic experience that they could have here. Being the Athletic and Activities Director at Columbia High School affords me the unique opportunity to grow a tremendous program, and to do so with students representing as diverse a student body as any in the country. Our commitment is to run an athletic program free of discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, religion or any other protected category, as well as free of harassment, intimidation and bullying. 

In a very short period of time, and in large measure because of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, there has been a sea change in how we do business in athletics. We know now, for example, that attitudes towards the use of language have changed drastically….we will not tolerate from either coach or player any ethnic, racial, or homophobic slurs. We will not tolerate punitive measures as a means to instruct our student athletes. Our expectations for exemplary conduct extend to all participants in our student-athletes’ lives:  coaches, parents/guardians, fans and players alike.

And to be very clear – on my watch -- any student who has a concern or complaint about any adult associated with our programs need not fear retribution of any kind.  

To the extent that student athletes have not had the best athletic experience – may have endured unnecessary pain – I am sincerely sorry. On my watch, and with the vigilance of Ms. Aaron and her administrative team, you can expect exemplary conduct on the part of all participants in our programs. It bears emphasis that last year, Columbia High School won the coveted NJSIAA Shopright Cup, which is given to the number one athletic program in the state for Group 4. A major component of that prestigious award is exemplary sportsmanship, which is illustrated by the fact that no Columbia sports team last year had any disqualifications for unsportsmanlike conduct.  

I don’t know if we will win the award again this year,  and if we don’t win it, we will still be able to boast a full sports season free of disqualifications.   

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about the Anti Bullying Bill of Rights Act and athletics.

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