High school football coach Joe Kennedy was given a significant victory from the Supreme Court earlier this year after the court found Bremerton School District's decision to fire Coach Kennedy for praying on the field unconstitutional. The court ruled in Kennedy's favor 6-3 shortly after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
First Liberty Institute, an organization dedicated to protecting religious liberty throughout the nation, helped Kennedy fight his way to the Supreme Court. Following the court's decision, they wrote, “In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of former high school football coach Joe Kennedy to take a knee in quiet prayer after football games even if he can be seen by students and the general public.”
“Importantly, today's decision respects the Constitutional rights of all public-school teachers and coaches to engage in a brief, personal prayer in public,” they continued.
Coach Kennedy was also quoted saying, “This is just so awesome. All I've ever wanted was to be back on the field with my guys. I am incredibly grateful to the Supreme Court, my fantastic legal team, and everyone who has supported us. I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining my family through this long battle.”
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Joe Kennedy's dream of being able to coach again may become a reality soon. This week, a joint stipulation was filed on behalf of Joe Kennedy and the Bremerton School District, “On Tuesday, attorneys for the Bremerton School District and Kennedy both submitted a joint stipulation in U.S. district court stating that he be reinstated to his former position on the football team on or before March 15, 2023,” CBS News reported.
The joint stipulation would force the district to rehire Coach Kennedy before March 2023. However, both parties are still debating one clause of the agreement regarding the school district's inability to, “interfere with or prohibit Kennedy from offering a prayer consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion,” according to CBS News.
While the agreement has yet to be finalized, this move to reinstate Kennedy sets a precedent for public schools across the country and exemplifies the importance of the first amendment. Hopefully, the outcome of this situation will bring confidence to teachers and coaches across the country to use their first amendment rights.
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