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surveyork
06:12

Three public school students in Mesa, Arizona, including a team captain, were allegedly removed from their varsity softball team, in part because they did not want to start each game with a “team prayer.” According to a complaint filed in a federal court in Arizona, the three girls were “penalized for not conducting ‘team prayer’ in accordance with the directive of Joseph Goodman,” the team’s coach. Coach Goodman, allegedly acted “for himself and at the behest of certain parents that were part of the [Mormon] Church.”

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The complaint paints a picture of a community where Mormon parents and students demanded the ability to micromanage other students’ lives. During a 2014 tournament, for example, the suit alleges that the plaintiffs liked to play “contemporary hip-hop and other popular music liked by teenage girls,” but that they were punished for doing so because one girl on the team thought that the music offended her “religious sensitivities.” At another point, the suit alleges that this girl’s parent monitored tweets sent by one of the three plaintiffs, and that certain “[s]ocial media postings made” by this plaintiff “were reported by certain [Mormon] Church members to Joseph Goodman at his direction and request.”

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