If Pasco County high
school football players want to pray or visit church, they need to do it on
their own time – without their coach present.
That’s the contention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation out of Wisconsin, according to The Tampa Tribune. An attorney from that organization recently sent school Superintendent Kurt Browning a letter renewing a controversy that was initially sparked last year over Zephyrhills High School football coach Reggie Roberts’ practice of bringing team members to local churches before games for food and prayer.
The Wisconsin organization wrote Browning a letter last year when someone local complained, the Tribune reported. Browning responded by reminding schools throughout the district that it was OK for students to lead and initiate prayers during non-instructional hours, but school employees are prohibited from leading those prayers when they’re on duty.
The latest letter comes in response to a Nov. 1 visit by the Zephyrhills team and Roberts to a local church.
“We wanted to let them know it can’t be happening this football season or any football season,” Andrew L. Seidel, a foundation attorney, told the Tribune.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has made headlines in the past for its efforts to end team prayer in public schools. In April 2014, it made headlines for its efforts to stop an Oklahoma baseball coach from leading pre-game prayers. It also led a charge against Clemson University’s football staff for “unconstitutional behaviors,” according to FOX News.
On its website, the foundation describes itself as an umbrella group that works “for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.”
Check out The Tribune’s full story here.
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