Praying football coach placed on paid leave by district

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Thursday, October 29, 2015
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The coach of a Washington State high school football team who prayed at games despite orders from the school district to stop, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

SEATTLE -- The coach of a Washington state high school football team known for praying before and after games has been placed on paid administrative leave by the school district.

Bremerton School District officials said in a statement that assistant football coach Joe Kennedy was placed on leave Wednesday afternoon.

Officials say the leave was necessitated because of Kennedy's refusal to comply with district directives that he refrain from engaging in overt, public religious displays on the football field while on duty as a coach. They say his conduct poses a risk that the district will be liable for violating federal and state constitutional rights of students.

Kennedy initially agreed to the ban, but with subsequent support from religious-freedom organization Texas-based Liberty Institute, he resumed the postgame prayers.