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FFRF tackles coach-led prayers in Alabama (February 21, 2018)

FFRF has ensured that a coach at a school in Bayminatte, Ala., will no longer be leading his team in prayer.

FFRF was informed that this past September, a football player was injured during an Elberta High School football game. Following the injury, Coach Kenny Thomason called all of the players to the sideline, asked them to remove their helmets and demanded that they “take a knee” while he led them in prayer. FFRF notified Baldwin County Public Schools on Sept. 12 that Thomason’s actions were inexcusable.

“Coaches may not use an injury as an opportunity to force students to participate in a religious exercise,” wrote FFRF Legal Fellow Chris Line to Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead their teams in prayer.”

The district responded on Feb. 21 to inform FFRF that the coaching staff had been reminded of their constitutional obligation not to pray with players.