A baseball coach at Pittsburg High School in Texas is accused of forcing his players to attend his Bible study.
The student's mother, who has requested to stay anonymous, told KLTV that baseball coach Tommy Stewart told the players if they didn't attend his Bible study they would be punished by having to run (video below).
School superintendent Judy Pollan denied the allegation:
He has about 30 boys and only 10 stay for a couple of sessions. That tells you right there that it's not mandatory. He may do studies on different things, but the whole purpose is to develop character. It probably actually started because some of the boys approached him.
The mom also claims that the coach makes the boys wear a practice uniform that states, "With God, all things are possible."
“And I asked this particular friend of my daughter's, 'Does everybody have to wear that?' and he's like, ‘Yes, we don't have an option,'” she stated.
Pollan countered, "Kids expressed a desire to have something like that on their T-shirts. If it's something they feel strongly about, well, of course, the coaches and staff will be responsive to it.”
Sam Grover, of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), told KLTV that if the allegations are true, then what the school is doing is illegal.
The FFRF is starting an investigation.
In Missouri, the GOP-controlled state House voted 118-30 on Thursday to require state schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in English once a day, noted the Associated Press.
While Democrats called the bill discriminatory, Republicans claim it will promote unity because English is the state's official language.
Students are not required to recite the pledge, per a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1943 in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, according to Cornell University Law School.