Bremerton football coach can stay, but prayers gotta go

Sep 18, 2015, 10:33 AM | Updated: 10:35 am
The Bremerton High School football coach will not be fired, but he will no longer lead team prayers...
The Bremerton High School football coach will not be fired, but he will no longer lead team prayers. (AP)

The Bremerton High School football coach will not be fired for leading prayers at games. His conduct, however, must change.

Bremerton School District Superintendent Aaron Leavell wrote a public letter summing up the issue and the district’s position. In short, the coach cannot lead prayers with students, whether in a classroom or on a football field.

Related: Bremerton Coach under scrutiny for post-game prayers

Coach Joe Kennedy made headlines when it was discovered that his players joined him in post-game prayers. Students are free to pray as they wish, but teachers and other district staff are usually banned from such activity.

Kennedy’s inspirational words will now be limited to motivational speeches.

“Talks with students may not include religious expression, including prayer. They must remain entirely secular in nature, so as to avoid alienation of any team member and, importantly, violate the law and our board policy,” Leavell wrote.

“Students are free to initiate and engage in religious activity, including prayer, so long as it does not interfere with school or team activities,” he continued. “Student religious activity must be entirely and genuinely student initiated, and may not be suggested, encouraged (or discouraged), or supervised by and district staff.”

Leavell notes the Bremerton High School football coaching staff was well-intentioned, but also that the district is subject to federal laws, and would be open to liability and loss of funding if it ignored them.

The district hired an outside attorney to investigate.

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Dori Monson stage show...
MyNorthwest Staff

Watch: Dori Monson’s ‘What are the Odds?’ stage show

In 2019, Dori Monson hosted a stage show - 'What are the Odds?' - which introduced you to the people who helped shape his improbable career.
3 months ago
Dori Monson welcomes the Moose back to KIRO. Follow @
MyNorthwest Staff

A collection of the all-time best Dori Monson stories

With the passing of Dori Monson, a collection of some of his top stories to remember all the hard work Dori brought to Seattle.
3 months ago
Alaska, fishing...
KIRO Newsradio staff

Listen: Friends, colleagues offer tribute to KIRO Newsradio’s Dori Monson

All day Monday, KIRO Newsradio's John Curley talked to friends, news makers, and more in tribute to Dori Monson.
3 months ago
Dori Monson Shorecrest...
Dori Monson Show

How to support charities reflecting Dori Monson’s values, passions

In tribute to Dori Monson, learn more about how you can support these three charities which best reflect his values, passions, and advocacy.
3 months ago
Dori Monson Nicole Thompson...
MyNorthwest Staff

Broadcasters, politicians, coworkers and friends remember Dori Monson

Dori Monson, a longtime KIRO Newsradio host, passed away Saturday. He is remembered by public figures, broadcasters, coworkers, and listeners.
3 months ago
Dori Monson...
MyNorthwest Staff

Longtime KIRO Newsradio host Dori Monson dies at age 61

We are deeply saddened to announce Dori Monson's sudden passing on Saturday, December 31, 2022, at a Seattle hospital.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Bremerton football coach can stay, but prayers gotta go