Did high school baseball coaches violate Constitution by leading pre-game prayer?

Photo: Brian Miller/Tallahassee Democrat

A Pennsylvania high school baseball team has been accused of violating the separation of church in state clause in the Constitution by leading a pre-game prayer.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has accused Montoursville (Pennsylvania) High School baseball coaches of kneeling with the team, removing their caps and leading a pre-game prayer before the championship game on May 31, according to Penn Live.

The U.S. Supreme Court has disallowed school-sponsored prayer.

It is not uncommon for players to pray before a game. Oftentimes, athletes from both teams will even pray together.

But in having a coach from a public school lead the prayer, the Freedom From Religion Foundation claims, a violation of the Constitution has occurred.

“The conduct of the coaches for the Montoursville High School baseball team is unconstitutional because it endorses and promotes religion,” said Madeline Ziegler, an attorney for the foundation, in a statement to the Montoursville Area School District obtained by Penn Live.

This notice states a student’s relative reported the prayer to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, according to Penn Live. It also included a picture.

Ziegler asked the district to investigate, stop prayers within the athletic programs and announce the steps it will do to prevent it from occurring.

“Public school coaches must refrain not only from leading prayers themselves but also from participating in students’ prayers,” Ziegler said.

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