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ICC Note: Following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a school district recently told a football coach, and other district employees, that they are banned from participating in student-led prayer. The FFRF asserted that such participation was unconstitutional because it would serve as an endorsement of a particular religion, while he is in the role of a school district employee. Not only is he restricted from leading the students in prayer, but he also cannot advocate for the students to hold prayer for themselves either.

By Amanda Casanova

11/01/2017 United States (Christian Headlines) – A Georgia school district has told a high school football coach and other employees in the district that they cannot participate in student-led prayer.

“Representatives of the school cannot participate in any student initiated/student led prayer or worship while acting in their official capacity,” a legal memorandum written by Coweta County school board attorney Nathan Lee that was passed on to employees at all district schools on Monday, reads.

The directive comes after the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint against coach-led prayer.

The complaint included a picture of football coach John Small where he was praying with his team. FFRF legal fellow Christopher Line said Small’s praying with his time violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

“Coach Small’s conduct is unconstitutional because he endorses and promotes his religion when acting in his official capacity as a school district employee,” Line’s letter said. “Certainly, he represents the school and the team when he acts in his official role as Head Coach of the [East] Coweta High School football team. Therefore, he cannot lead his team in prayer and he cannot organize or advocate for students to lead team prayer either.”

The FFRF said they were happy with the school district’s decision.

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