FFRF stops Georgia coach from leading students in prayer (April 19, 2014)
A coach at Thomas County Central High School in Thomasville Ga., will no longer lead a football team in prayer before practice. The coach’s involvement was confirmed by a news story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitutions, which included a photo of the coach praying with the team, who were dutifully bowing their heads.
FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel sent the District a letter Aug. 5 explaining that the Supreme Court has struck down school pre-game prayers for violating the Establishment Clause.
“It is a violation of the Constitution for the coach to organize, lead or participate in prayers before football practices and games. It is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor, or lead religious messages at school athletic events.”
On April 19, the school’s superintendent responded, “I have carefully considered your concern and have reviewed the team’s practices regarding prayer. I plan to address your concern by taking steps to end any coach-led prayer that may be occurring during football practices or games, while ensuring that religious students and staff may exercise their First Amendment rights to speak, associate, and participate in religious activities.”