In apparent response to Coach Joe Kennedy’s ongoing to dispute with the Bremerton school district, legislation was introduced today that would allow anyone to make public demonstrations, including prayer, after sporting events at public high schools.
The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Jesse Young, whose district includes Bremerton, and co-sponsored by forty-five others. All the sponsors are Republicans.
Joe Kennedy is a retired Marine who was also a football coach at Bremerton High School until he was fired for praying on the field after football games.
The Bremerton School District has taken the position that the prayers open the school district up to lawsuits claiming that his prayers on the field after the game constitute a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause by creating the impression that the school district is endorsing the prayers.
Coach Kennedy has since sued the school district claiming religious discrimination and requesting to be returned to his coaching job.
The legislation introduced today (HB 1602) addresses this situation and others like it by declaring school grounds after a sporting even to be a public forum where the kinds of speech typically allowed in a public forum, including prayer, would be allowed.
The bill was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and so far has not been scheduled for a hearing
No companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.
You can leave comments about this bill on the legislative website by clicking here.
You can contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or email them by clicking here.
Whatever your issue, communicate often with your legislators about how you feel. When you do, be sure to be respectful. Not only does a lack of respect reflect poorly on you, it also hurts the cause you are trying to help.
If your legislators have not sponsored legislation you want them to support, ask them to support it. If they are supporting it, thank them for doing so.
Thank you for doing your part.