Football coach fired for praying after games reinstated


A United States court has reinstated Joe Kennedy, a former football coach at Bremerton High School, who was sacked by the district for praying on the field after a game. He was put on leave in 2015 but the court documents, which were filed on Tuesday, said that Kennedy should resume his job by March 2023.

It will be recalled that when the case first got to the public, it gathered a lot of media attention. Many persons also supported Kennedy’s decision to continue praying on the field despite the school’s request for him to pray in other areas except the school field.

However, he can pray on the field after everyone has left but Kennedy objected. He said he would pray before and after games in the presence of students. As promised, he continued praying and after he repeated his prayer sessions twice, he was placed on leave.

In June 2022, the case was opened at the U.S Supreme Court where it was ruled in favour of Kennedy. The judges also said in August that Kennedy’s postgame prayers on the field were protected under the First Amendment.  

The recent judgment of the court read that the school district cannot retaliate against Kennedy for conduct that complies with the terms of the Court’s Order. Also, it cannot interfere or prohibit Kennedy from offering a prayer consistent with the Supreme Court’s opinion. 

Then, he is also entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs, but the district has said those fees will ultimately be decided by the U.S. District Court after an "exacting process." 

The district said in a statement, "At this point, the School District has not received any documentation for any amount of attorney fees. The extent of insurance coverage for a potential attorney fees judgment is the subject of continuing discussions between the School District and its insurers." 

On November 8, the district and Kennedy will jointly file a submission with details of each other’s proposed wording on the disputed issues and relief issued to Kennedy.

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