A Jewish family in Ohio claims that their son’s high school football coach made their child eat pork despite knowing the family is Kosher.
The father of the student at McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio, alleged that a school football coach made his son eat a pepperoni pizza in front of the team as punishment.
“The coach had a pork pizza as a penalty for this child not showing up for practice,” the family attorney, Edward Gilbert, said, according to ABC 5, Cleveland. “What’s interesting is everyone on the team knows this child will not eat pork.”
The attorney added that the student had been injured on May 20 and did not return to practice until May 24. But because he missed a practice at that time, the coach forced him to eat the pizza in front of the team.
The attorney also points out that the coaches know that the boy is Jewish and Kosher.
“To say the coach used poor judgment would be an understatement,” Gilbert added. “This was humiliating for this child.”
“I felt very upset. I felt disrespected,” the player said. “Makes you question if they are doing their job or are they capable of doing their job. Obviously, I feel the culture is broken.”
A Facebook post from Canton City School District issued a statement last Friday but issued a longer reply on its website saying:
At the Canton City Schools, the safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority.
An incident occurred during a football training session that was concerning enough to warrant immediate action by the Canton City School District. That immediate action was the suspension of eight members of the High School Football Coaching Staff, including the head coach, while an investigation is conducted.
The incident calls into question whether appropriate team management, discipline, and player accountability infrastructures are in place.
The District is nearing the completion of its investigation regarding this incident. Once a conclusion is reached, following our commitment to transparency, the District will provide additional information.
The football program, which has a long and impressive history, is an important part of our school culture and our community. That program has a proud tradition of instilling the attributes of excellence, leadership, community, accountability, hard work, and respect into the players and those associated with the overall program. As such, those entrusted with the protection of our student-athletes must be held to a higher standard within our community.
Let us be clear, the Canton City School District holds all staff to the highest professional and ethical standards. Anything short of these standards is unacceptable.
As educators, we are united in the pursuit of creating an inclusive and safe learning environment for our students in the classroom and beyond.
According to WHBC 1480 AM, McKinley coach Marcus Wattley and seven assistants are on paid administrative leave as the school investigates the incident.
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