Aberdeen Central High School in Aberdeen, S.D., will no longer permit its coaching staff to engage in pre-game prayers before football games.
After a complaint was filed with FFRF, Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott sent a letter on Sept. 24 to inform Aberdeen School District that this practice violates the Constitution:
“The coaches’ apparent organizing and obvious participation in a team prayer constitutes an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. A reasonable member of the Central High School football team would certainly perceive such a prayer ‘as stamped with [his or] her school’s approval.’”
On Sept. 29, the superintendent replied, “All members of the administrative leadership team and coaching staff have received follow-up correspondence which instructs them not to organize, encourage, or participate in student prayer at any event sponsored by the District.”