The Bremerton School District is investigating a football coach for praying after high school football games. District policy states “school staff shall neither encourage nor discourage” students from praying.
Posted on Weasel Zippers:
Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, who is still coaching, said he always prays after games on the 50-yard line. He said sometimes he’s alone, sometimes players join him.
“I never asked anyone,” Kennedy said. “They just all showed up one day and the next thing I know, the other team was showing up with us.”
KING 5 spoke to Kennedy at Monday’s JV football game, He’s the assistant head coach for Bremerton High’s varsity team and the head coach for the JV squad. After Monday’s game, Kennedy still prayed on the field, and a large crowd made up of players and parents from both Bremerton and its opponent took part.
“I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, and it’s been about protecting the freedom of other people,” he said. “It’s about the freedom, and people can believe whatever they want. I’m just exercising my right. The game is over, and I just thank God for every one of these young men that are out here.”
Kennedy wrote on Facebook that he was warned that he could lose his job over his post-game ritual.
There is no comment from the school district on the investigation, but as of now, Kennedy is still coaching. In the meantime, a “Support Joe Kennedy” event has been set up on Facebook for this Friday.
In general, voluntary prayer presented and led by students without official permission or sanction may be constitutional, provided that it is not coercive in any way.
Of course this means as long as Coach Kennedy doesn’t initiate the prayer, it should be allowed, as long as it’s voluntary, student-led and doesn’t disrupt the educational process.
Students may engage with other students in religious activity during non-curricular periods as long as the activity is not disruptive or done by force.
Mr. Kennedy, I will be praying for you. Good luck Coach!
Written by Nancy Hayes
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