The school district in Bremerton, Washington, is negotiating with high school assistant football coach Joe Kennedy who openly defied the district by performing a postgame prayer on Oct. 16 (video below).
According to the Kitsap Sun, Bremerton High School players and members of the opposing team joined Kennedy, who is a self-identified Christian, in a prayer on the 50-yard line of the football field, which is government property.
Bremerton Superintendent Aaron Leavell has claimed Kennedy's prayers on the field with students violate the principal of separation of church and state. Leavell warned the staff not to pray before the game, notes The Associated Press.
School district spokeswoman Patty Glase struck a more conciliatory tone in a statement on Oct. 19:
"The district continues to hope that the district and Mr. Kennedy can arrive at common understandings that will ensure that the rights of all community members are honored and the law is respected."
Kennedy is represented by Hiram Sasser, of the Christian-based Liberty Institute law firm, who told the Kitsap Sun: "The game is over. Citizens are free to come on the field. It seems to me the only difference we have with the district is the district thinks he has to flee if students come to him."
Sasser added: “We’re guaranteeing if they take action against Coach Joe, we will take action to make sure they have the appropriate legal consequences that are a result of that.”