Former Bremerton assistant football coach Joe Kennedy expected back on the sidelines for 2023 season

BREMERTON, Wash. — Nine months after his Supreme Court victory, Bremerton High School’s former assistant football coach Joe Kennedy will be back on the sidelines for the school’s 2023 football season.

Eight years ago, Joe Kennedy was let go following the 2015 football season after going against warnings from the Bremerton School District and praying with students at the 50-yard line following games.

Last June, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, saying that those prayers were a private matter.

According to a Bremerton School District spokesperson, Kennedy will return to his former position as an assistant coach and be included in spring football practice and other off-season football activities.

“The Bremerton School District will fully comply with the court’s order to treat Mr. Kennedy’s personal religious conduct the same way the district treats all other personal conduct by coaches at football games,” said the district in a statement last November. “The District remains steadfast in its commitment to respecting the rights and religious freedom of students, families, and school staff, and to keeping football games, and all school events, safe for the students we serve.”

A court order filed in October 2022 stated that Kennedy must be reinstated on or before Mar. 15, 2023.

He was also entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. The district says it has reached an agreement in principle to settle an attorney fees claim of $1,775,000, which still needs to be approved by the district’s board of directors.

Football coach contracts are set to be approved by the school board at a meeting on Aug. 3 and begin in mid-August.

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