FFRF tackles Washington football coach’s prayers (June 1, 2012)

Thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an Auburn High School (Auburn, Wash.) football coach will not lead the team in prayer before games, nor will any other school district employees.

The prayers took place in the locker room, with team members and coaches bowing their heads and taking a knee. Everyone in the locker room was obligated to participate. FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote to the school district’s Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Timothy A. Cummings on May 23: “The prayers before Auburn High School’s football games constitute an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.”

Seidel also wrote that he was concerned that the prayers were not isolated to Auburn High School and requested that the school district investigate the practices at all of its public schools’ athletic games.

FFRF received a positive response from Assistant Superintendent Cummings on June 1. Cummings reported that “the school district’s athletic director has sent a memo to all building athletic directors to desist immediately with organized team prayers by coaches.” He also sent a copy of FFRF’s letter to all administrators and noted that “Principals will need to monitor closely so that staff refrains from leading prayers in school.” The district will also be hosting an in-service on the “Constitutionality of Prayer in Public Schools.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation