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MSHSAA doesn’t expect any changes following Supreme Court ruling


As the Supreme Court continues to hand down decisions this week, one decision took a look at prayer at sporting events.  

Joseph Kennedy sued the school district in Washington State where he worked up until 2015 when he was fired for praying on the football field after a game with players.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the coach was wrongfully terminated for practicing his religious beliefs.  The separation of church and state is usually judged by the endorsement clause which looks at if a government agency is supporting a particular religion.

"It's a pretty good weight to figure out whether or not to figure out if a public body is favoring a particular religion," said William Freivogel, professor at Southern Illinois University School of Journalism.  

In a statement to ABC 17 News, the ACLU of Missouri said,

The ruling is yet another example of an extreme and radical shift in the United States Supreme Court. This time, the court overturned 60 years of precedent, blurring the lines of separation between state and church by allowing a school official to lead prayer while in their official capacity and trampling students’ religious freedom as they may not share the same faith of school teachers or coaches.

ACLU of Missouri

"The Supreme Court did emphasize in its case on Monday, that it was the individual coach's decision and free excessive of religion and not a school decision," said Freivogel.

So what does this all mean for high school sports this fall?  Officials with MSHSAA said they do not anticipate any sudden changes to how members conduct themselves.

ABC 17 News reached out to Columbia Public School and the Jefferson City School District to see if this ruling had any affect on current policy and have yet to hear back.

Article Topic Follows: Court and Trials

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