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Football Coach Claims He Was Fired for Refusing to Stop Team Members From Praying


"My concern is the rights of the kids to do what is their right to do."

A public school football coach is claiming he was terminated from his position for allowing players at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson, Arizona, to pray before and after games.

Gary Weiss, formerly a volunteer coach with the district, said that he was given an ultimatum by school officials: tell players to stop praying or lose his position. He refused and opted for the latter option, according to KVOA-TV.

"My concern is the rights of the kids to do what is their right to do," Weiss told the outlet.

District administrators said, though, that voluntary prayer is permitted, but that staff members cannot facilitate or promote student invocations.

The central question is whether Weiss was guilty of organizing or supporting prayers among team members — something the coach denies, claiming that no adults led the invocations. Weiss also said that the prayers were inclusive.

"The prayers of the freshmen team have been recited by Muslim kids, Jewish kids, and Christian kids," Weiss told KVOA-TV.

He is reportedly no longer permitted on school property.

Reactions to the termination have emerged on social media, with former students and others lambasting the district's decision.



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