Fed Court Rules School District Was Right in Firing High School Coach for Silently Praying After Football Games

A federal court ruled last week that Washington state’s Bremerton School District’s firing of Coach Joe Kennedy for his silent prayer on the side line was acceptable.


Coach Kennedy was fired in 2015 for silently kneeling after football games on the 50-yard line. According to Kennedy the school said, “You can choose between your faith and your job,” and then fired him after he continued to silently pray after games.

Judge Ronald B. Leighton who ruled on the case last week was nominated by George W. Bush.

CBN News reported:

A Washington state high school football coach has lost another round in his battle against a school district that fired him almost five years ago for his “silent” post-game prayers on the 50-yard line.

On Thursday, Federal District Court Judge Ronald Leighton granted the Bremerton (WA) School District’s motion for summary judgment in the case of Coach Joe Kennedy.

Kennedy and his legal team plan to appeal the decision.

In 2015, Kennedy was fired by the Bremerton School District for kneeling on the 50-yard line after football games and silently praying. As CBN News has reported, the post-game prayers caught on, spilling over to his players and even to opposing teams.

School officials worried that those prayers might give the appearance that the district approved of Coach Kennedy’s public prayers, creating a potential endorsement of religion. They eventually fired Kennedy, who calls that a violation of his right to free speech.

Kennedy told CBN News in December that his prayers were never mandatory.


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