Football Coach Is Replaced After He Forced Student to Eat Pork, Lawyer Says

A highschool soccer coach in Canton, Ohio, and 6 assistant coaches is not going to have their athletic contracts renewed, officers mentioned, after an allegation was made that a 17-year-old was pressured to eat pork towards his spiritual beliefs as a result of he missed a voluntary apply session.

The Canton City School Board voted 5-Zero on the choice throughout a particular assembly on Thursday, town college district mentioned in a press release. Marcus Wattley, who was the pinnacle soccer coach, and the assistants would now not be coaches at Canton McKinley High School or some other college within the district, it mentioned.

The college district has additionally filed a report in regards to the matter with the Canton Police Department, which is investigating it as a possible hazing episode. The police didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The vote adopted an incident on May 24, the final day of courses and 4 days after the scholar, a rising senior, had missed the elective apply. The pupil was pressured to eat a complete pepperoni pizza, although Mr. Wattley and the opposite coaches knew that he didn’t eat pork as a result of he was a Hebrew Israelite, the lawyer for the scholar’s household, Ed Gilbert, mentioned earlier this week.

According to Mr. Gilbert, the scholar was advised that his teammates could be pressured to do further drills if he didn’t eat the pizza, and that his personal standing with the staff could possibly be compromised.

The Canton Repository, an area newspaper, reported final week on the episode and on the vote on Thursday. It quoted Jeff Talbert, the highschool superintendent, as saying that a seventh assistant coach, Badre Bardawil, who additionally had been suspended, would stay an assistant coach as a result of the proof “did not show that he performed in the same manner as the other coaches.”

In its assertion, the varsity district named Mr. Wattley and 6 assistant coaches: Cade Brodie, Joshua Grimsley, Romero Harris, Frank McLeod, Zachary Sweat, and Tyler Thatcher, who had all been suspended final month after the incident.

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Mr. Talbert and officers on the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, a union, couldn’t be reached for touch upon Friday.

On Wednesday, Mr. Talbert mentioned that additional disciplinary measures would observe the suspensions. The college district assertion described the coaches’ actions as “inappropriate, demeaning, and divisive.”

He mentioned an investigation discovered that the coaches “engaged in actions that constituted inappropriate, demeaning, and divisive behavior in a misguided attempt to instill discipline in the student-athletes.”

“This behavior will not be tolerated,” he mentioned.

The pupil met detectives on the Police Department on Friday, Mr. Gilbert mentioned in an interview. He added that there was a video of the incident, which happened within the fitness center.

Mr. Gilbert mentioned that the coaches got administrative go away with pay. He mentioned the varsity board determination utilized to a supplemental contract for teaching, and that contracts for different jobs related with the varsity have been going to be reviewed. The police investigation is related to a possible hazing, he mentioned.

The college board named the athletic director, Antonio Hall, as its interim head soccer coach. Mr. Hall is a graduate of McKinley High School, a member of the 1997 and 1998 state championship groups, and a former participant within the National Football League.

The president of the board, John Rinaldi, mentioned the soccer program had a “long and proud history” on the college. “We are moving forward, despite this difficult circumstance,” he mentioned, “and are pleased to announce this new leadership for the football program.”