Prayers Answered: Bremerton School Board Agrees to $2M Settlement for Coach Joe Kennedy

The Bremerton School Board has agreed to a settlement of almost $2 million with Joe Kennedy, a football coach who was dismissed for praying on the field. Kennedy will also be reinstated as a high school football coach.

Kennedy’s case concerning his termination reached the Supreme Court, resulting in a 6-3 ruling in favor of the coach’s reinstatement. In August 2022, the justices determined that Kennedy’s right to pray on the field was protected by the First Amendment.

As per an October 2022 court filing, the Bremerton School District is required to rehire Kennedy by March 2023.

“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,” the district said on its website on March 6.

On March 6, the district revealed that they had reached a settlement to cover Kennedy’s attorney fees, amounting to $1,775,000. The settlement will be brought before the school board on March 16 for approval.

“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,” the district said on its website.

Kennedy, a Christian and former football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington, began coaching at the school in 2008. Initially, he prayed solo at the 50-yard line after games. As students started to join him, he began offering brief, motivational speeches that included religious references.

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