BY Michelle Garcia

October 19 2009 5:30 PM ET

A high school football coach allegedly made two players hold hands and run together as punishment during a recent practice, and is coming under fire for the action.

Officials from the Aurora Public Schools say they are investigating the claims that Coach Grant Pippert told freshmen Rafael Merced and another student to hold hands and run together after a brief altercation. The two were taunted by their teammates, who called them derogatory names. Merced told KMGH-TV News that he felt the experience was humiliating.

Aurora Public Schools spokeswoman Paula Hans released a statement saying, "We are investigating these allegations to determine if they are true. We are speaking with players, parents, and staff who may have been involved."

The coach's behavior can lead to a warning, suspension, or firing, Hans said.

Merced's mother, Tasha Martinez, said the coach "apologized for making them hold hands and said he used it as a means of team-building."







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