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Prayer and High School Football

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At Issue: The violation of the religious liberty rights of school administrators

Case Status: Ongoing

Case Summary

Bremerton High School in Washington State has ordered football Coach Joe Kennedy to stop his seven-year practice of speaking a personal prayer at the 50-yard line after every game. While Bremerton High School claims it is attempting to avoid any liability that could result from violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, the school is misapplying the law, and actually stripping Coach Kennedy’s right to personally pray after games—a right protected by the First Amendment and extensive case law precedent. See details below.

Meet Joe Kennedy

After every junior varsity and varsity high school game, Coach Kennedy walks to the 50-yard line and speaks a brief, personal prayer, thanking God for the game and for the players.

His personal practice began in 2008 when Kennedy, who actively served in the Marines for 20 years, was hired as head coach for the junior varsity football team and assistant coach for the varsity team.

At the close of his very first game, Kennedy waited for the players and other coaches to clear the field. After his official coaching duties had ended, he walked to the 50-yard line, took a knee, and prayed, quietly but audibly. After a few games, some students asked what he was doing.


Source: www.libertyinstitute.org