On Monday June 27, in the case of Kennedy v Bremerton School District, the Supreme Court ruled that a high school football coach in a public school was within his rights to pray on the center of the field after games. Though being presented as a win for religious freedom by some, HAF took this to be a set back for protecting the religious freedom of public school students.
Responding to the ruling HAF Executive Director Suhag Shukla stated:
“This ruling up-ends decades of legal precedent regarding the separation of church and state. Though the ruling still prohibits coaches and teachers from coercing students to pray with them, the power dynamic between coaches and students is such that students who would otherwise not join a coach engaging in prayer may feel pressured or compelled to do so out of concern of harming their coach’s opinion of them and their place on the team. Furthermore, in its logic of permitting ‘private and personal’ prayers, this ruling also opens the door to all teachers and coaches doing so, making more students of differing religious backgrounds feel as though they are under obligation of joining in with these religious expressions from school officials.”