(DailyVantage.com) – A Georgia high school fired a football coach from his coaching position after he baptized 20 student-athletes on school property. The incident resulting in the coach’s termination was filmed and posted to the football team’s official Facebook account, showing a pastor baptizing the football players individually.
According to Kristen Waters, Tattnall County High School’s superintendent, the decision to fire coach Isaac Ferrell is unrelated to the baptism. Ferrell brought a local pastor, Gray Few, to the school property to perform the ceremony in late October. Waters claims Ferrell’s termination resulted from a separate incident in early November, which prompted an internal investigation.
Waters confirmed an investigation into the baptism is ongoing and that the school first learned of the incident when the Freedom from Religion Foundation reported it to school officials. The Freedom from Religion Foundation is a nonprofit organization that reports instances of constitutional violations relating to the separation of church and state. According to the nonprofit, Ferrell used his position as head coach to violate the constitutional rights of his athletes.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation learned about the baptism when a concerned community member reported Ferrell to the nonprofit. According to an article from the organization, student-athletes are often more “susceptible to coercion” from coaches or other administrative staff. The organization also claims Ferrell violated his team’s First Amendment right against religious indoctrination by holding the baptism ceremony.
Although the Freedom from Religion Foundation claims Ferrell coerced the students to participate in the baptism, the students’ parents tell a different story. One parent claimed she was proud of her son’s decision to be baptized and defended Ferrell’s actions. According to the parent, Latifa Johnson, each student in the video seemed excited about the ceremony and attended it of their own accord.
Johnson isn’t the only one supporting Ferrell’s decision, as the video’s comments overwhelmingly support the baptism ceremony. The video also received negative comments, with some claiming Ferrell was indoctrinating the students. An investigation into Ferrell’s actions is ongoing, and he’s currently still employed as a teacher at Tattnall County High School.
Copyright 2023, DailyVantage.com