CANTON, Ohio — The Canton City School Board of Education terminated the positions of three of its coaching staff Thursday night and suspended its former head coach for allegedly forcing a student to each pepperoni pizza despite it being against the student's religious beliefs.
"An incident on May 24 in which seven coaches of the McKinley Football Team used a demeaning, divisive and misguided approach to instill discipline in our players, resulted in the non-renewal of their coaching contracts," the board said.
The district said the alleged incident was caught on camera.
"It was concluded, following a review of the video of the incident and conducting investigative interviews, that the coaches conducted themselves in a manner that is not consistent with our values as a school district," the board said.
The board terminated the employment contracts of Joshua Grimsley, Frank McLeod and Zachary Sweat. Former head coach Marcus Wattley was suspended pending a formal termination process, the district said.
"Canton City Schools has always made our students' safety and well-being our top priority, and we will continue to ensure individuals who do not represent that objective are not permitted to hold positions within our district. As such, the decisions of our board this evening was to remove all involved parties from school employment or, in the case of the former head coach, to continue the administrative termination process," the district said. "In the Canton city School District, we value excellence, leadership and building community. Above all, we have a commitment to protecting the safety and security of our students, both physically and emotionally. We have and will continue to do so."
The district said it is working to fill the vacancies left by the coaches.
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