In August, a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, struck down the appeal of Washington State H.S. football coach, Joe Kennedy, who was fired for taking-a-knee on the 50-yard line after a game, bowing his head to silently thank God for a good game, and 30 seconds later – leave.
Judge Milan Smith wrote, “By kneeling and praying on the 50-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents, Kennedy was sending a message about what he values as a coach, what the District considers appropriate behavior, and what students should believe, or how they should behave.”
Even though students were not required to pray with him, in 2015 the Bremerton School District issued a directive that forbade Kennedy from exercising his faith in any way that would be visible to students. The directive included anything from praying to wearing a religious icon.
“Think about where that leads,” said First Liberty counsel, Jeremy Dys. “That means the Muslim teacher could not wear her hijab, the Jewish teacher couldn’t wear his yarmulka, and the Catholic teacher couldn’t wear her crucifix.”
“Banning all coaches from praying individually in public just because they can be seen is wrong,” said First Liberty President Shackelford. “This is not the America contemplated by our Constitution.”