Cameron High School head football coach Jeff Wallace and assistant football coach David Stucky are being accused of “illegal and unconstitutional” acts by a national atheist group. The complaint stems from the fact that the coaches pray with the players under their wing.
The atheist group is insisting that the Missouri school district in charge of Cameron High School must investigate the coaches. According to them, the fact that the coaches pray and discuss Bible verses with their players before and after games is unconstitutional.
CHS Head Football Coach Jeff Wallace and Jacob Kaiser, Kyle Fox, Jeb Drost, Derek Gray, Jr., & Tyree Mayfield pic.twitter.com/UTFIyQJlTo
— St. Joe Central HS (@CHS_Indians) February 7, 2014
Freedom From Religion Foundation represents atheists, agnostics and so-called “freethinkers.”
The group sent a letter titled “Unconstitutional Coach-Led Prayer and Religious Worship” to District Superintendent Matt Robinson to lodge their complaint. According to them, “Coach Wallace’s conduct is unconstitutional because he endorses and promotes his religion when acting in his official capacity as a school district employee.”
The letter further added that leading student-athletes to prayer means that the coaches are endorsing their religion on the School District’s behalf. The letter cited an incident in which the coaches were seen praying with the football team on the 50-yard line, in full view of spectators.
The students concerned have not spoken about the complaint but none of them have protested against the prayer sessions. Some parents have spoken out in full support of the coaches. They said that the players are never forced to join in when the coaches head to the 50-yard line. Each individual “prays” in silence and the coaches do not lead nor impose their religion upon the others.
Another parent said that the coaches are “building character” among the athletes and “it’s sad” that the atheist group is targeting them.
According to Christian Headline, in an effort to be fair to all the parties involved, the superintendent has confirmed that an investigation will be launched. In a statement, he said that an investigation into the allegations and concerns raised by the FFRF, pursuant to District’s non-discrimination policy and policy regarding religious expression, to determine whether District policy has been violated. However, the statement also confirmed that “no local complaints were brought to the attention of the administration of the school district.”