An Oklahoma school district is investigating a claim by a concerned parent that an assistant football coach is illegally leading his team in a Christian prayer before games.
As reported by the Norman Transcript and other Oklahoma outlets, the Freedom From Religion Foundation — a not for profit dedicated to maintaining the separation of church and state in America — was alerted to a pre-game prayer led by a Norman High assistant football coach when a video of one such prayer was uploaded to Facebook.
You can see the video in question above.
Norman Public Schools has since committed to investigating the claim, with an eye to ensuring that the state’s own policy is enforced. That particularly includes an Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association policy which holds that no public address system can be used for a pregame prayer, but that schools can, “permit a moment of silence prior to the start of all activities, permit persons at the event to reflect, mediate, pray or engage in any other silent activity.”
Traditional interpretation would also hold that the prayer session is acceptable if it is initiated by a player, but not by a coach because of the inherent power dynamic between coaches and players.
There’s no early word on how or whether Norman would be penalized for the alleged incidents that have already occurred. For now, the program is likely much more focused on ensuring that such an incident doesn’t unfold again, both for public relation and potentially financial reasons in the case of a potential fine.