In response to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling in favor of a football coach's right to pray on the field, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is launching a campaign in an attempt to educate school administrators on what it perceives to be limitations of the ruling.
In June, SCOTUS ruled 6-3 in favor of a former Washington state coach, Joe Kennedy, who fought to reclaim his job after being let go for repeatedly praying on the football field.
The Court found that the Bremerton School District violated both the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment when it fired the coach for praying.
In line with the FFRF's position of "non-theism," the anti-religion non-profit has been sending memos to school administrators informing them on what they can and cannot do as a result of the ruling.
The memo was sent to more than 6,100 school districts in 14 states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
"Theocratically minded groups and people are attempting to take advantage of the egregious Supreme Court judgment," says FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor. "We're doing all that we can to make certain that student rights are respected."
The FFRF memo includes lengthy explanations of the perceived limitations of the law, as well as an encouragement for students to report suspected violations.
The FFRF also said that, when necessary, it would contact student-athletes directly to let them know their rights.
"The Bremerton decision has not changed the law at all regarding what school districts can and cannot do at its athletic events," the memo reads. "It certainly has not opened the door for public school officials to coerce students into participating in religious activities by scheduling prayer at school-sponsored events, leading students in prayer, or inviting students to participate in prayer. Please consider reminding your administrators, athletic directors, coaches and staff of the important line between permissible, private religious expression and coercive religious practices, and monitor school athletic events to ensure that school employees are complying with the law."
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