Bremerton Football Coach “Joe Kennedy” Prays In Public, Says it is Constitutional

Bremerton Football Coach Joe Kennedy Prays In Public, Says it is Constitutional

A Bremerton High School coach prayed at the end of Friday night’s football game, despite being told to stop.

Bremerton High assistant coach Joe Kennedy knelt as his players left the field Friday night and prayed. The Kitsap Sun reports players from the other team and others joined him.

The school district says in a statement issued Monday that Kennedy’s employment status is unchanged. School officials are reviewing the events of Friday night and are talking to the coach’s lawyers.

District spokeswoman Patty Glaser says the district hopes they can arrive at an understanding with Kennedy that will respect the rights of all community members, and follow the law.

Superintendent Aaron Leavell has said Kennedy’s long-standing practice runs counter to the constitutional mandate for separation of church and state. He said in a statement before the game that staff must refrain from religious expression while on duty.

Kennedy’s law firm, Texas-based firm Liberty Institute, says the district has no right to ban the coach from personally praying. They say he didn’t encourage or discourage students from participating.