The Bremerton School District is lawyering up.
After filing a federal lawsuit against the District, Coach Joe Kennedy’s legal team made one thing pretty clear: Coach Joe just wants his job back. “All we really want for him – is to be back on the sideline coaching those kids – and nothing more,” said Michael Berry, one of Kennedy’s attorneys with the First Liberty Institute.
Kennedy was fired last year after refusing to submit to the District’s demands that he stop praying before and after football games. His prayers, the District said, constituted an endorsement of religion, and were in violation of the separation of church and state. When this story broke last year, there was overwhelming support for Coach Kennedy from across the country, standing in support of continued protections under the First Amendment.
He didn’t stop praying, and the District put him on leave before ultimately firing him.
But there’s a new twist to this story: Bremerton School District must use taxpayer money to fight the discrimination lawsuit that Coach Kennedy has now brought against them in federal court.
The Kitsap Sun reported that the Bremerton School District has made the decision to pull needed legal funds from the general fund in order to beef up its legal team to fight this lawsuit in court.
Translation: the Bremerton School District is pulling funds from the classroom to keep Joe Kennedy off the field.
The District spent $6,600 in September of 2015 to cover the cost of legal work related to the Kennedy issue. That amount increased to $10,512 in October 2015. At present time, the District has dumped an additional $190,000 into its legal fund — all from the general fund — for legal work “in anticipation of legal costs for JK.”