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HS Football Coach Joe Kennedy Officially Reinstated at Bremerton

Joe Kennedy, the Bremerton High School football coach who lost his job in 2015 for praying on the field after games, has been reinstated.

Kennedy, represented by First Liberty Institute, won his Supreme Court case last year in a 6-3 decision that said his post-game 50-yard-line prayers were protected by the Constitution.

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The school district in Washington released the statement, according to the local news.

Mr. Kennedy will be an assistant football coach for Bremerton High School for the 2023 season.  Mr. Kennedy has completed human resources paperwork and we are awaiting the results of his fingerprinting and background check.  Mr. Kennedy will need to complete all training required by WIAA.  Football coach contracts are approved by the Board at the August 3, 2023 board meeting, and begin in mid-August. As with any other assistant coach, Mr. Kennedy will be included in coaching staff communication and meetings, spring football practice and other off-season football activities.

Hiram Sasser, Executive General Counsel at First Liberty Institute, celebrated Kennedy’s rehiring in a statement.

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“We are thrilled that Bremerton and Coach Kennedy are back together and we hope they go undefeated,” Sasser said.

National radio host Todd Starnes, who was the first media personality to cover Kennedy’s story, also cheered for Kennedy.

“Congratulations, Coach Joe Kennedy!” Starnes said.

A joint stipulation filed in October in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington stated that Kennedy “is to be reinstated to his previous position as assistant coach of the Bremerton High School football team on or before March 15, 2023.”

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Kennedy is set to begin in mid-August after the school board approves the contracts at an Aug. 3 meeting, and pending the board of directors’ approval, the district reached an agreement in principle to settle an attorney fees claim of $1,775,000, KIRO 7 reports.

Lower courts for years had repeatedly sided with the Bremerton School District in the case. Kennedy said his routine typically lasted less than a minute and he insisted his prayers were brief, private, individual acts of faith.

The school district argued that student participation breached constitutional prohibitions against the promotion of religion by government officials.

“This is a right for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re this religion or that religion or have no faith whatsoever,” Kennedy told ABC News. “Everybody has the same rights in America.”

Newsmax contributed to this report.

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