Judge Tosses Wrestling Ref's Lawsuit in Dreadlocks Case

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A Superior Court judge has rejected a defamation suit filed by a high school referee who gave a South Jersey wrestler only seconds to choose between having his dreadlocks cut or forfeiting his match in 2018. 

Judge John Porto rejected claims by Alan Maloney that the Buena Regional High School District in Atlantic County breached its duty to him by suspending him after the incident. Porto’s decision comes after the district filed a motion to dismiss back in March. 

The incident in question happened in December 2018 when Andrew Johnson, then a junior at Buena Regional High School, was given 90 seconds to decide whether to cut his dreadlocks. Johnson, 16 at the time, agreed to have several inches of his dreadlocks cut after Maloney told him he could not compete without a hair covering. 

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