At one point during Friday night’s Seminole High School football game in Sanford, the starting quarterback got injured.
Questions have now surfaced about what happened afterwards, when football players could be seen praying on the sidelines.
“They take a knee, whether it’s their player or an opposing player. We do that to show respect,” said Mike Blasewitz, Seminole County Public School’s Executive Director of Secondary Education.
And prayers among students are allowed. But the Freedom From Religion Foundation contacted the Seminole County School’s superintendent this week, accusing Seminole High School of having a volunteer chaplain lead the team in prayer. The foundation said it got complaints from parents.
“What we do have a problem with is if the school is allowing a chaplain to come in and say ‘okay, kids, now it’s time for us to pray,’” said Andrew Seidel, and attorney for the foundation.
School officials said they don’t employ chaplains, and prohibit any employees, including coaches, from leading prayer.
They say in this case, students were praying on their own.
We did learn the football team’s head coach, Kerry Wiggins, is the father of the injured player and an ordained minister.
“We communicate very clearly to our employees what our expectations are," said Blasewitz. "And that particular coach is a teacher first, a coach second, and if they choose in their own personal life to be a minister on the side, then that’s certainly up to them.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation received a letter from Seminole High School’s principal Wednesay denying any chaplain led prayer.
“The school has said that they don’t allow that and that they would not allow that, and that they know that it’s illegal, so we’re happy with that resolution,” said Seidel.