Praying coach sues to get his job back
In October 2015, Bremerton High School suspended fired Coach Joe Kennedy – then refused to renew his contract – because he defied the school’s demand that he not kneel at the 50-yard line and pray after each game (see earlier related articles).
Jeremy Dys of First Liberty Institute says the school took aim at Kennedy because of his faith.
“When the school district fired Coach Kennedy for praying, they engaged in explicit religious discrimination, violating the First Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,” Dys explains. “What they’ve done is illegal, it’s unconstitutional, and it needs to be changed.”
Last week, First Liberty filed a lawsuit against Bremerton School District, asking that he be reinstated to his job as coach and that the court inform the district he has the right to continue to pray after the games. Kennedy isn’t seeking any monetary damages.
Dys says the school district insists on taking the matter to court.
“They could solve the issue very quickly – and yet they’ve decided instead to spend the dollars of the school district defending their illegal and unconstitutional acts,” says the attorney.
After their client was fired last year, First Liberty filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has not taken a position on the case. But it did issue a letter in June stating that Kennedy has a right to move forward with his case against the school.
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