Baptism Of Public School Athletes Debated In Kentucky

A Kentucky parent is considering taking legal action against a public school district for allowing a coach to take 20 students, including her son, on a school bus to a church to be baptized.


Michelle Ammons said her 16-year-old son Robert Coffee was told by his Breckinridge County High School football coach that the outing would include a motivational speaker and a free steak dinner, not a trip to an evangelistic service.


Ammons’ complaints over the outing have sparked debate among parents, some of whom claim the coach was forthright about the character of the event. But the coach did not seek permission for the trip from parents.


School Superintendent Janet Meeks, who is a member of FranklinCrossroadsBaptistChurch and witnessed the baptisms, argues that the trip was constitutional because attendance was not required and another coach, not the school, paid for the gas.


But according to David Friedman, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, the trip violated the Constitution, even if it was voluntary and the school district didn’t pay for the fuel.