A New Jersey school district on Wednesday announced it will not send its high school athletes to events officiated by the referee who forced a high school wrestler to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a match.

The decision was made during the Buena Regional Board of Education's emergency meeting on Wednesday night, according to local news outlet WPVI. Community members reportedly raised concerns about the racial implications of the incident.


The school district's superintendent, David C. Cappuccio Jr., said he had alerted the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) that "the school district and its athletic teams will not compete in any contest officiated by this referee from this point forward," CNN reported.

The referee, identified as Alan Maloney, was barred from officiating any more matches earlier this week after a viral video showed a Buena High School student getting his dreadlocks cut before a match after the referee reportedly wouldn’t allow the student to wrestle by covering his hair. 

"We have viewed the video footage that has gone viral and are deeply troubled by the embarrassment and humiliation our young student athlete endured," Cappuccio said in the statement. "District administration has been working diligently around the clock for the past several days collecting as much info as possible about the sequence of events occurring this past Dec. 19." 

An attorney for the student told WPVI that he had previously been allowed to wear a head covering in prior matches.  

"He was emotionally drained; he had tears coming down his eyes as his locks were being cut off," attorney Dominic Speziali said, according to the outlet.

The athletic organization has reportedly referred the matter to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.

A spokesman for the New Jersey attorney general’s office confirmed to NJ.com last week that the civil rights division opened an investigation into the incident.  

"He's done working with our district," Cappuccio said, referring to Maloney, according to WPVI.

The referee did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.