No more “Hail Mary”s for Tennessee football team

After FFRF’s complaint, the football team at West High School in Knoxville, Tenn. will no longer have a volunteer chaplain. In December of 2010, FFRF was alerted by a concerned area member that Graham Schulyer, a priest at Apostles Anglican Church, was serving as the volunteer chaplain of the football team. The complainant sent FFRF a copy of a local news article about the football team’s religious inclinations.

On March 14 of 2011, FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert contacted the Knox County Schools Superintendent and the West High School principal, letting them know that “The appointment of a team chaplain, formal or de facto, for a public high school athletic team . . . violates the Constitution. A public high school football team should not employ a chaplain, seek out a spiritual leader for the team, or agree to have a volunteer team chaplain.”

On May 3, 2011, the Knox County Law Director’s Office responded to FFRF: “West High School football team will not have a volunteer chaplain in the future. By policy, Knox County Schools neither advances nor inhibits religion.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation