Football Coach talking to player on field

JOSH DAVIS is licensed under CC BY 2.0

High School Coach’s Suspension is Upheld

A Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a football coach appeal on Wednesday. Coach Joe Kennedy was suspended from Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington. The reason behind his suspension was that he knelt and prayed on the 50-yard line after the school’s football games.

The three judge panel ruled in favor of the high school, stating it had the right to carry out any actions it deemed necessary as punishment. The court passed this judgment on the basis that Mr. Kennedy was serving as a public servant during those games.

Mr. Kennedy, who has been a coach at the high school since 2008, was appealing against the schools ruling which dictated that he was to refrain from doing anything that could be perceived as a form of worship on public school property.

Bremerton High school serves around 5,000 religiously diverse students according to the court records. Former coach Kennedy’s actions such as leading players in post-game prayers led the school to order him to stop back in 2015. The school stated by him doing so he violated the separation of church and state required by the United States of America Constitution. Coach Kennedy was first suspended with pay and the school district later chose not to renew his contract after he chose to defy the school’s ban.

Joseph Kennedy also sued the school district. In his legal claim, he stated that the school district had been prejudiced against him on the premise of his religion. The claim stated that this violated his constitutional right to exercise freedom of speech and religion.

The former assistant coach’s cause has gathered support from President Trump, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, United States congressman Steve Largent, former Dallas Cowboy defensive tackle Chad Hennings and legal allies.

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