Football coach forced to sue the school district after being fired for praying during a game. From 2008-2015, Bremerton High School assistant football coach and Marine Joe Kennedy prayed with students and coaches in the locker room and took a knee in prayer after every game.
For seven years, no one took issue with Kennedy’s prayers both on and off the field. But in 2015, the school district suddenly demanded the coach stop talking to God for fear that they’d be sued.
“The (district told him) if you talk to God you’re fired,” Attorney Michael Berry said on the Todd Starnes Radio Show.
“That prayer would be by itself, silent or very quiet, and no more than 15 or 30 seconds,” he continued. “That happened for seven years without a single complaint or issue, but as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished.”
From then on, Kennedy was no longer allowed to make it obvious that he was praying in any way. Kneeling, bowing his head, or simply looking like he was in prayer were suddenly grounds for immediate termination.
As Written By Seattle Times:
The petition was filed by First Liberty Institute, a conservative nonprofit based in Plano, Texas, and Kirkland and Ellis LLP, a law firm headquartered in Chicago. The attorneys believe Kennedy has the right to offer a brief silent prayer, even if it’s in the view of students, said Mike Berry, deputy general counsel for First Liberty.
“If left to stand, the lower court ruling would mean that any public school employee, or government employee would lose their right of free speech, simply by being a public employee,” he said.
The Bremerton School District said in a statement that it’s aware of the petition and that its response to Kennedy’s petition will be filed later.
“The District looks forward to the eventual conclusion of this matter,” the district wrote.