FFRF Working to Stop MI Football Coaches from Praying with Players

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to the Bridgeport School District here in Michigan urging them to stop their football coaches from praying with the players after their games, a clear violation of multiple Supreme Court precedents.

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A concerned citizen informed FFRF that football coaches at Bridgeport High School lead their teams in prayer. The complainant informed the state/church watchdog that at a game on Sept. 7, the Bridgeport Junior Varsity football team coaches and the opposing team prayed together after the game. This prayer circle, which shows coaches participating in the prayer, was photographed and shared on social media and can be seen in the photograph above.

It is inappropriate and illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead their teams in prayer, FFRF reminds the Bridgeport Spaulding School District.

“The Supreme Court has continually struck down school-sponsored prayer in public schools,” FFRF Legal Director Rebecca S. Markert writes to Bridgeport Spaulding School District Superintendent Carol W. Selby. “Public school coaches must refrain not only from leading prayers themselves, but also from participating in students’ prayers. It is unconstitutional for public school employees to participate in the religious activities of their students.”

There are many precedents that make this unconstitutional, most recently a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Brementon, Washington. A football coach is a government employee in a position of authority over public school students and it is illegal for them to lead or participate in religious exercises of any kind with those students. I’ll be curious to see how the school responds. If their legal counsel is competent, they’ll tell them to put a stop to this immediately.

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