KEYSER - A complaint has been filed with Mineral County Schools in regard to the Frankfort High School coaches and football players joining in prayer with the Hampshire Trojans following their Oct. 26 game at Frankfort.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - A complaint has been filed with Mineral County Schools in regard to the Frankfort High School coaches and football players joining in prayer with the Hampshire Trojans following their Oct. 26 game at Frankfort.
Superintendent of schools Troy Ravenscroft confirmed this week that he had received the notification from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization which, according to its website, is designed to “promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.”
According to the letter from the foundation to Ravenscroft, a “concerned parent” had contacted them in regard to a report that “Frankfort High School football coaches prayed with their players mid-field after the Oct. 25 football game against the Hampshire Senior High Trojans.”
The letter included a screenshot of a tweet posted by the Hampshire Review sports department which included a photo of the coaches and players of both teams kneeling together.
“It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead their teams in prayer,” the letter stated. “The Supreme Court has continually struck down school-sponsored prayer in public schools.”
The letter, sent by Brendon Johnson, legal counsel for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, went on to say, “It is unconstitutional for public school employees to participate in the religious activities of their students…
“Frankfort High School coaches and staff participating in prayer with their players is a clear endorsement of religion by public school employments….When a public school employee acting in an official capacity participates in team prayer, he effectively endorses religion on the district’s behalf.
“We ask that the Mineral County Schools take immediate action to stop any and all school-sponsored prayers occurring at any district athletic programs.”
Ravenscroft told the News Tribune that he had referred the letter to school attorneys.