Coaches won’t join in post-game prayers (March 19, 2021)

An issue of religious promotion by the Cumberland County School District in Crossville, Tenn., has been resolved.

FFRF was made aware that the Stone Memorial football coaching staff joined a public prayer with students after a school football game against Christian Academy of Knoxville last fall. Several coaches bowed their heads and held the shoulders of the players.

FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to the district’s attorney, informing the district that it is illegal for public school coaches to organize or participate in prayer with their teams.

Cumberland County School Board Attorney G. Earl Patton informed FFRF in a letter of response that the issue has been resolved. “Stone Memorial High School Principal Kelly Smith met with the head coach of the football team and reiterated that public school coaches must refrain, not only from leading prayers themselves, but also from participating in prayers led by students,” Patton wrote.

Additionally, Patton informed FFRF that he gave a presentation to district administration concerning increasing religious diversity and the importance of adhering to religious neutrality.

Freedom From Religion Foundation