Castlewood School District, S. Dak., will no longer hold pre-game prayers, following a complaint by FFRF. A video posted on YouTube showed school district personnel leading and participating in prayers before sporting events.
On May 23, 2012, FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote to the district informing them that public school officials, including coaches, cannot lead, organize, or participate in prayers with their students. The student-coach relationship is naturally coercive and students are trained to follow the lead of coaches.
After FFRF sent several follow-up letters, Castlewood Superintendent Keith Fodness responded on August 14: “Our coaching staff has been briefed on the case law pertaining to prayer as it relates to the situation described in your letter and have been instructed to act within those guidelines.”