HS Coach Fired for Prayers on Field Is Returning

Joe Kennedy to be reinstated by March
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2022 12:31 AM CDT
Updated Oct 27, 2022 3:33 AM CDT
High School Football Coach Fired Over Prayers on Field Is Returning to His Job
Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy stands on the field at Bremerton Memorial Stadium, Nov. 5, 2015.   (Larry Steagall/Kitsap Sun via AP, File)

The Washington state high school football coach fired for leading team prayers on the field will be given his old job back, per court documents filed this week. The Supreme Court sided with Joe Kennedy in June, finding in a 6-3 ruling that his First Amendment rights were violated. His lawyers as well as school district attorneys filed a joint stipulation Tuesday that says "Kennedy is to be reinstated to his previous position as assistant coach of the Bremerton High School football team on or before March 15, 2023," ABC News reports. The documents also bar Bremerton School District from retaliating against him for "conduct that complies with the terms of the Court’s Order," and prohibits the district from stopping him from praying on the field, Fox News reports.

Kennedy's attorney confirms his client, who moved to Florida after losing his job, will be moving back later this year in order to return to the part-time job. He's expected to be back on the field by the fall 2023 football season. A district spokesperson says there remain "areas where there are still questions" about how Kennedy's prayers will be accommodated in a way that is consistent with the high court's ruling. (Read more Washington state stories.)

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