JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Attorney General says he supports a pair of Cameron football coaches who got into some hot water for leading their players in prayer before games.
In a letter addressed to the Superintendent of the Cameron School District, Attorney General Eric Schmitt said that he believes that coaches Jeff Wallace and David Stucky did not violate the constitution by leading the students in prayer.
“I write to assure you that the Establishment Clause does not prohibit public prayer and that the First Amendment protects the rights of public-school students to engage in prayer in public places,” the letter reads.
In November, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that works to “protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state,” said it received a complaint from someone in the community concerning the alleged actions by head football coach Jeff Wallace and assistant coach David Stucky.
The organization sent a letter to to the school district, urging Superintendent Matt Robinson to take immediate action to stop all school- sponsored prayers.
“The District will be performing 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. The District will also take immediate interim measures to protect students from further possible violations of District policy. No local complaints were brought to the attention of administration of the school district,” Robinson said in a statement to FOX4.
In a statement, the Freedom From Religion Foundation said that students are allowed to pray at school, but coaches can’t lead or participate in the prayer.
“This conduct is unquestionably illegal, and Attorney General Schmitt likely knows that, which is why he cites no case law regarding the Supreme Court’s clear decisions about religious endorsement and prayer in public schools.” FFRF attorney Chris Line said. “Instead, he cites legislative prayer cases that have no bearing on whether school officials can engage in religious activities with students.”
FOX4 has reached out to the School District for comment.