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FFRF ends school-sponsored prayers at Texas high school’s football games (March 17, 2013)

A high school in Stephenville, Texas, will no longer include school-sponsored prayer in its post-football game activities, thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Football games at Stephenville High School frequently included post-game prayers led by coaches. One prayer even included a coach putting his hands on a player's head as the coach said the prayer.

FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell contacted the school district's superintendent, Dr. Darrell Floyd, by letter on March 13. She reminded the district that the coaches' participation in organized prayer violates the separation of state and church, and requested that the school-sponsored prayer be investigated and stopped.

She noted that the coaches have tremendous influence over student athletes, so when they lead prayers they exclude nonreligious students or students who express their beliefs in a different way.

"Parents trust their children to the coach's charge, and the coaches through their own example must be sure that athletes are not only treated fairly but also imbued with a sense of community and camaraderie," she said.

Superintendent Floyd replied March 17 that the District "will take immediate action to stop all school-sponsored prayers occurring at district events."