FFRF ‘penalizes’ Haralson school team chaplain (Feb. 28, 2012)

The Haralson County (Tallapoosa, Ga.) football team will no longer call upon a “team chaplain” to provide religious support, thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt. Schmitt wrote Haralson County School District Superintendent Brett Stanton on Sept. 19, 2011.

“A public high school football team should not employ a chaplain, seek out a spiritual leader for the team, or agree to have a volunteer team chaplain.” Prior to FFRF’s intervention, a local pastor issued sectarian prayers over the loudspeaker before home football games. Schmitt pointed out that it is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor or lead prayers before public high school athletic events. Appointing a team chaplain was in direct violation of the Constitution.

The school district’s legal counsel sent a letter of reply on Feb. 28: “We are confident that any of the situations that gave rise to your concern have been addressed and will not give rise to any concerns during next year’s football season or otherwise.” 

Freedom From Religion Foundation