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Coach Kennedy Files Religious Discrimination Complaint


The Washington state high school football coach who was suspended for praying at games has filed a discrimination complaint.

Coach Joe Kennedy filed the complaint Tuesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Bremerton School District for his suspension in October.

Kennedy claims among other things that the district did not punish the team's offensive coordinator for similarly performing postgame Buddhist chants, his lawyers said.

"BSD violated my rights to free exercise of religion and free speech by prohibiting my private religious expression and taking adverse employment action against me on the basis of my religion, notwithstanding my request for a reasonable accommodation that would allow me to practice my sincerely held religious beliefs," Kennedy wrote.

"Moreover, BSD does not uniformly or consistently enforce its discriminatory policy," he continued. "I have observed other BSD employees engage in visible religious expression without adverse consequences."

Kennedy prayed before and after games, sometimes joined by students, since 2008. But the school district asked him to stop this year.

Kennedy's attorney says the district had no right to ban the coach from personally praying because his prayers were private and silent.

The EEOC is expected to review the complaint and decide whether to conduct an investigation.

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