A high school football coach in the US state of Ohio and seven of his staff have been suspended for punishing a student who keeps kosher by forcing him to eat a pepperoni pizza.
The 17-year-old Jewish student at McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio, was being disciplined for missing a weight lifting session on May 20, according to a family lawyer, Edward L. Gilbert.
Wattley Marcus, the coach on the American football team, presented the boy with a pizza topped with pepperoni, chosen because it includes pork, according to local broadcaster Cleveland 19 News.
Describing the ordeal, Gilbert said: “They order him to go into the gym. He sits in a chair.
“There is a pizza box on the floor. He picks up the pizza — they tell him he has to, as punishment, eat that whole pizza.”
The student’s Jewish identity and his avoidance of pork were known to Wattley Marcus and other coaching staff, according to Gilbert.
“I mean it just crosses a line on every level, it’s just wrong,” Gilbert said.
Canton City School District released a statement saying it was investigating the incident and would announce its findings soon.
“The incident calls into question whether appropriate team management, discipline, and player accountability infrastructures are in place,” the statement said.
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