HS Football Team Has Perfect Response After Coach Banned For Praying
Though it is a fixture in every football team’s playbook, coaches at Cape Henlopen High School in Delaware might not even be able to resort to the Hail Mary now.
This week, Cape Henlopen High School’s football team staff has been banned from engaging in post-game prayer circles with students.
The ban comes as a result of the school district’s superintendent, Robert S. Fulton, receiving a letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
The FFRF was contacted twice after Cape Gazette sports editor Dave Frederick took photos of Cape Henlopen’s head coach, Bill Collick, praying with his kneeling players.
FFRF staff attorney Elizabeth Cavell told the News Journal:
He’s got his hands on players and he’s bowing his head and he’s participating in a prayer circle with students. Our objection to that is it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which has been interpreted to say that public school districts and their employees cannot advance or endorse religion while acting in their official capacity.
Fulton responded to the FFRF with a short letter essentially assuring that coaches would step away from the post-game prayers. The students, though, have decided to continue praying after their games.
Of the decision, Cavell said,
We’re satisfied with that. We’re expecting that staff, including coaches, are not going to be participating in prayers with the students in the future.
For their part, other Delaware high school football coaches known to participate in prayer circles have insisted it is not mandatory for their players.
Lake Forest High School’s coach, Freddie Johnson, told the News Journal:
We don’t lead prayer, our kids lead all of our prayers. Our kids know that if they don’t want to participate, they don’t have to participate. Our coaches don’t have any part of it. We just stand on the outskirts and touch them when they do it. But our prayer is player-led, and it’s voluntary. They don’t have to do it.
Collick, meanwhile, seemed unapologetic in retort:
One of the most noble things that men and women do is entrust you with their kids. You better believe that. And we owe it to their parents to send those kids back to them better than they were before.