Bremerton football coach Joe Kennedy rehired after praying firing: court docs

Bremerton football coach Joe Kennedy rehired after praying firing: court docs

The Washington high school football coach who was fired for praying after a game could get back on the field before the end of the school year.

Joe Kennedy and the Bremerton School District both submitted a joint stipulation in US district court Tuesday asking Kennedy to be reinstated to his assistant coach position at Bremerton High School on or before March 15, 2023, according to court documents obtained by CBS.

The filing comes just months after the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling protecting Kennedy’s religious practice under the First Amendment.

In his opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch said the school district was seeking to “punish” Kennedy after he was put on leave in 2016.

The coach and public school district had debated for years whether the game-day prayers were against district policy.

The parties still disagree, the court documents state, though a clause was included in the record that the district cannot “interfere with or prohibit Kennedy from offering a prayer consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion.”

Additionally, the district is not allowed to “retaliate against or take any future adverse employment action against Kennedy for conduct that complies with the terms of the court’s order.”

Joe Kennedy, a Christian former public high school football coach in Washington state who sued after being suspended from his job for refusing to stop leading prayers with players on the field after games, poses at Bremerton Memorial Stadium in Bremerton.
Joe Kennedy was suspended from his coaching position after the district claimed his game-day prayers were against policy.

Kennedy’s counsel told the Washington Examiner that the football coach is looking forward to returning to the job.

“Since the Supreme Court released its decision in June, it was inevitable that Coach Kennedy would be back on the field,” Dys said. “We’re glad that the school district has agreed that by March 15, 2023, he’ll be back to coaching, just like he wanted when he filed the lawsuit.”