FFRF scores goal for state/church separation at S.C. high school (March 12, 2013)

A soccer coach at a Charleston suburb high school will no longer lead prayers before the school’s soccer matches, and coaches at all the district middle and high schools will review policies required to uphold the separation of religion and public schools.  

A concerned parent of a student athlete at Ashley Ridge High School in Dorchester County, S.C., told the Freedom From Religion Foundation that the coach led prayers before the team’s soccer matches and at the annual banquet.

FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott sent a March 6 letter to the Dorchester School District Two superintendent, Joseph Pye, asking him to direct the coach to stop leading prayer and promoting religion while acting as the team’s soccer coach.

“It is clear that federal law dictates school employees must refrain from actively participating in religious activities while acting within their governmental role to avoid any perception of government endorsement of religion and/or excessive entanglement with religion,” Elliott said.  

The superintendent responded in a March 12 letter to say the coach will no longer lead prayer and that school coaches have been instructed on how Establishment Clause dictates should be observed in school athletic activities.

“[The coach] was directed to cease leading or directing prayer immediately, and he gave his assurance this would be the case,” the superintendent said.

Freedom From Religion Foundation