A mother is angry about a trip led by the head football coach at Breckinridge County High School.
She should be.
The coach took about 20 players on a school bus late last month to his church, where nearly half of them including her son were baptized.
An obvious violation of both the establisment clause and the players right to freedom of religion or the lack thereof.
Michelle Ammons said her 16-year-old son was baptized without her knowledge and consent,
Given the age of her son I'm not certain that it falls on her to make such decisions. Depends greatly on the laws of that particular state.
and she is upset that a public school bus was used to take players to a church service
She has every right to be. The school broke the law and violated the rights of every single player on that team, regardless of wheather they wanted to be there or not.
and that the school district's superintendent was there and did not object
Then the superintendent should be removed from her job. She has clearly demonstrated a disdain for both the letter and the spirit of the US Constitution, the laws of the United States, and the constitutional rights of every single student under her jurisdiction. She has also shown that not only will she turn a blind eye to violations by teachers in her district, but also openly endorse, attempt to excuse, and even participate in violations of law and the civil rights of the students in order to propagate and advance a personal religious agenda. She should be removed from her position immediately. Had she belonged to any other religion besides christianity she already would have been fired.
Superintendent Janet Meeks, who is a member of the church and witnessed the baptisms
Like I said, this was part of a group of school administrators willingly violating the law by using they're positions of authority in order to advance a personal religious agenda.
said she thinks the trip was proper because attendance was not required
Saying that "attendance was not required" doesn't mean that the players were not being pressured by either the coach or other players to "not let down the team" or other such pressures.
In many, if not most, high school teams individuality is not encouraged, while thinking and acting as a group is encouraged. If some portion of the team is participating in a certain action or event then there is significant pressure on the others to also participate lest they be percieved as "letting down the team" or being a weak link in the team.
Then there is the matter of the Coach, who is in a position to pressure the players to go along even if attendance is not strictly required. There is also the matter that the players may feel that by not participating, even if it's something they disagree with, that they are letting down their Coach and therefore the team as a whole.
Also, just because the superintendent claims that attendance was not required does not mean that the player were not lead to believe, or told outright, that attendance was required.
and another coach paid for the gas.
Just because someone besides the school district paid for the gas doesn't mean that the school bus was now his property. The bus belongs to the school district to be used for official school business regardless of who paid for the gas. Besides a different coach can still be construed as acting on behalf of the school district.
No matter how they try to spin this the Superintendent, and the two coaches violated the law and the rights of the players on the team, regardless of whether or not the players wanted to go! There was always the option of doing this outside the aegis of the school and the authority that it carries. But instead they choose to use school property, money, and authority to violate the rights of the students under their care. The coaches should at the very least be censured or reprimanded if not fired, while the superintendent, who should have know for certain that such a trip was an egregious violation of the 1st Ammendment, should be asked to resign and fired if she refuses to do so.
As for all the apologists out there who will no doubt trip over themselves trying to excuse or absolve the coaches and superintendent of wrongdoing, All I have to say to them is... Would this type of behavior be acceptable to you if the superintendent and coaches happened to be Muslim?