FFRF coaches schools on coach-led prayer (February 6, 2018)

FFRF stopped constitutional violations that nearly took place in three high schools in a Florida school district. It was reported to FFRF that the Gainesville High School, Eastside High School and Buchholtz High School football teams were scheduled to attend a Fellowship of Christian Athletes football camp this summer.

The camp includes daily church services and its stated mission is to “present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.” Furthermore, the head football coach of Gainesville High School described the camp in part as a team building activity to “emphasize faith” and stated that “everyone can benefit from learning some Christian values and fellowship.” The coaching staff, and, occasionally, students were also leading the team in prayer before meals and coaches were leading the team in prayer before and after games.

FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew Seidel wrote to Alachua County Public Schools last year informing the district that the prayers and the camp were illegal. The district responded on Feb. 6, communicating to FFRF that the coaches of the teams have been instructed to refrain from any religious activity.

Freedom From Religion Foundation