BREAKING: The Nation’s Highest Court Will Hear A Case Involving Highschool Football Coach Who Was Fired, Why? For Praying On Campus

Photo Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments in the case of a former Washington high school football coach who was dismissed over his postgame prayer routine. In a statement, Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty, who is handling the case, stated, “No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their religion in public.”

On Twitter, the First Liberty Institute stated, “BREAKING NEWS! The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear Coach Kennedy’s case. This is the last act in a protracted judicial dispute. He was dismissed when he was caught praying quietly on the football field. A win might have ramifications for all government employees, as well as affect the way courts view religious liberty.”

“By considering this important case, the Supreme Court can defend every American’s freedom to private religious expression, including public prayer, without fear of penalty,” he managed to continue.

“We look forward to bringing the Coach’s particular instance, that itself goes to the core of the First Amendment, to the Justices,” told reporters Paul Clement, former US Solicitor General, partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and First Liberty volunteer counsel. Joe Kennedy’s case has given the coach renewed hope that he would be able to return to the football sidelines six years after the events.

“It’s been much too long since I’ve been on a football field. “I am ecstatic that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear my case, and I hope to be back on the field coaching the game and the players I adore soon,” Kennedy said in a statement. The choice did not go down well with everyone.

On Friday, Americans United for Separation of Church and State issued a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s decision. “No youngster at a public school should have to pray in order to participate in school sports. No student should ever be made to feel excluded because they don’t share the religious views of their coaches, professors, or other students, whether in the classroom or on the football field.” Rachel Laser who is Americans United Current President and Chief Executive Officer said.

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“When the Bremerton School District prohibited its football coach from having coerced prayers with players on the 50-yard line after high school football games, it respected the law and safeguarded students’ religious freedom,” Laser continued. “Like all of us, public kids and their families have a constitutional freedom to believe anything they choose and to be treated equally by their public schools, regardless of their views.” The Bremerton School District did everything it could to uphold their constitutional rights.

Kennedy was employed by Bremerton High School (BHS) in 2008 and dismissed in 2015, according to court filings, with a contract that “entrusted” him “to be a coach, mentor, and role model for the student athletes.” He was told that he was expected to “display sportsmanlike behaviour at all times” and that he was “constantly being monitored by others” as a coach.

Kennedy also conducted team prayers before and after games, according to court filings, although the custom predates his employment and his faith did not compel him to lead such prayers, but it did need him to express gratitude after each game.

After each game, when Kennedy kneeled and prayed, others of the squad began to join him, until the majority of the team was praying as well. The opposing team was also asked to participate. After the games, Kennedy began making mid-field motivational speeches that incorporated religious messages.

Kennedy received a letter from the Bremerton School District (BSD) on September 17, 2015, informing him that he would be investigated for violating the school’s policy on “Religious-Related Activities and Practices,” which stated that students may “engage in private, non-disruptive prayer at any time not in conflict with learning activities,” and that “school staff shall neither encourage nor discourage a student from engaging in non-disruptive oral or silent prayer or any other form of devotional

Kennedy complied with the inquiry, and the BSD Superintendent told him that his post-game prayers were “difficult,” and that he needed to cease integrating religious themes in his motivating speeches. He was informed he could follow his faith as long as he didn’t do so in public.

For several weeks, Kennedy avoided praying on the field in front of kids and supporters, but on October 14, 2015, he requested a religious accommodation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, arguing that “his formal coaching duties finished” after the game.

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  1. Gene April 27, 2022

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