Friday, December 18, 2015

School football Coach Was Sidelined for Praying. Now He’s Fighting Back

The high school football coach who was removed from his job for praying at the 50-yard line after games filed a federal complaint today with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, arguing the school discriminated against him based on his faith, The Daily Signal has learned.

“I just don’t think it’s right, what the school district did,” Joe Kennedy, a football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington State, told The Daily Signal.  The whole idea of having to hide my faith where nobody can see me doing it … that doesn’t seem very American to me.

After refusing to comply with orders to stop kneeling at the 50-yard line and praying after games, Kennedy was put on paid administrative leave and was at risk of losing his job. He was banned from participating in any Bremerton football programs, allowed only to sit in the stands when games were open to the public.

The school offered to accommodate the coach’s right to exercise his religion by providing him with private locations to pray, such as the press box. Kennedy said that wasn’t the tradition he started eight years ago, when he began coaching football.

“When I started praying, I said I was going to give God the glory on the 50-yard line, and right after every game,” Kennedy said, adding:  Nobody should have to hide who they are, especially in a public school setting, where I’ve walked through and seen “practice diversity and acceptance” all through the hallways. We’re not showing that. We’re not leading by example as adults.

The school argued that praying is a religious activity and therefore violates the federal and state constitutional rights of students and others.

In a memo issued to the public by the Bremerton School District, they confirmed there is “indeed no evidence that students have been directly coerced to pray with Kennedy.”

In defense of their adverse actions against the football coach, the district cited a Supreme Court case where the judges ruled “that a school district’s practice of simply allowing its facilities to be used for religious expression during a district-sponsored football game violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause because of the reasonable perception by students and attendees of district endorsement of religion.”

Mike Berry, a senior legal counselor at Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Kennedy in his case against the school, said filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is a “necessary step for seeking vindication for Coach Kennedy’s rights.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the government agency responsible for enforcing federal employment discrimination laws.

Berry said in the complaint that they’re requesting two things: for the school to reinstate Kennedy as a football coach and to allow him to privately engage in religious expression by praying at the 50-yard line after games, “as guaranteed by the Constitution and federal law.”  “That’s it,” Berry said. “Nothing more.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can address the complaint in a number of ways, including launching an independent investigation and issuing their findings in a determination letter.

The Commission can also go so far as to sue the school district themselves.

This happened when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought a lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch for refusing to hire a Muslim teenager who wore a hijab and had applied to work at the clothing store.

The case landed in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices ruled 8 to 1 that Abercrombie & Fitch had discriminated against the woman for failing to accommodate her religious practices.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also brought a lawsuit against a trucking company for firing two Somalian-American Muslims truck drivers who did not want to transport alcohol because of their religious beliefs.  In October, a federal jury awarded the two drivers $240,000.

Berry, Kennedy’s lawyer, said he is “hopeful that the [agency] might do something similar here on behalf of Coach Kennedy as they obviously, very recently, have done on behalf of Muslim employees who also faced discrimination.”

Kennedy, who works full-time for the U.S. Department of Defense and is also a former Marine, calls being suspended from his job one of the “hardest things” he’s ever dealt with.

“My background is pretty diverse, being in the military, and one of the hardest things I’ve had to do is sit on the sidelines and actually watch my team play,” Kennedy said.

The first game he was sidelined for happened to be senior night.

“I have a kid that doesn’t have any parents, and he asked if I could stand with him like I do every year when they don’t have parents,” Kennedy said. “I wasn’t allowed to stand out there with one of my guys I’ve been coaching for years. I try to play a tough guy role, but that really tore me up inside.”

When the school placed Kennedy on paid administrative leave, the district issued a statement calling the action “necessary” for his refusal to comply with policies that ban “overt, public religious displays on the football field while on duty as a coach.”

“While the district appreciates Kennedy’s many positive contributions to the [Bremerton High School] football program, and therefore regrets the necessity of this action, Kennedy’s conduct poses a genuine risk that the district will be liable for violating the federal and state constitutional rights of students or others,” the school district stated.

“For this reason, Kennedy will not be allowed to further violate the district’s directives.”


Australia: The young white male has slipped educationally

 Paul Sheehan

Young white men are losing their traditional advantages in Australia. Their once dominant position is being eroded incrementally, in measurable ways, with each passing year.

The Higher School Certificate results provide an annual snapshot of this relative decline (and it is relative, not absolute). The superior performance of young women compared with young men remains strong.

This year, when I took out all the niche language subjects, apart from the one subject everybody has to sit, English, 37 females topped NSW in a subject, compared with 22 males.

No male domain is safe any longer. Young women topped the state in automotive examination, business services, financial services, primary industries and legal studies.

Traditionally, mathematics, mathematics extension, mathematics general, modern history, ancient history and geography were male bastions, but this no longer applies. All six subjects were topped or co-topped by young women in 2015.

The disproportionate academic success of students of Asian background was repeated in 2015. It has been structural for decades. They dominated the hard sciences again, topping physics, chemistry, information processing and technology, mathematics, mathematics extension 1, mathematics extension 2 and information and digital technology.

Take away nine subjects topped by males of Asian background, and males of European background topped only 13 of the 59 non-language subjects, or 22 per cent. This is a marked underperformance, given that European-background males make up just under 30 per cent of HSC students.

The slippage is relative. Young white males might be as productive as ever, but relative to other groups, they are falling behind.

The majority of students at Australian universities are women. The majority of graduates are women, including the majority of graduates in the professions. The disparity has been widening for years.

Inevitably, the impact of this change is rippling through the workforce. The number of women who are the main income-earners in their households has been a rising trend for years.

There are still disparities in income that favour men – a point of enduring contention – but our society has yet to work out an affordable way to bridge the income gap created by women taking extended leave to have and raise children. This reflects a structural gap more than a discriminatory one.

In terms of reputational slippage, young white men are in relative decline. I was stunned by a recent survey in Britain in which white men in their 20s placed spectacularly last in a rating of reputation.

The survey was conducted by YouGov, a British international market research company. In summarising its survey, YouGov wrote: "Data from 48 separate surveys reveals that young white men are seen as the worst ethnic, gender or age group on five negative traits, and the second-worst on five positive traits.

"The people we regard as the laziest, rudest, most promiscuous, drunken drug-takers are white men in their 20s."

Sheehan goes on to elborate about the poor ratings of young white men in Britain but seems not to realize that political correctness would have had a large effect on the results.  For instance, given their high level of criminality, young black men  would undoubtedly have been very negatively rated but to do so would be on the brink of illegality in Britain today.  A British pastor has just been prosecuted for saying that Muslims serve the Devil


Sanity — and Santa — have been restored at a Brooklyn public elementary school where St. Nick was banned, the Pledge of Allegiance was dropped and Thanksgiving was replaced with a “harvest festival.”

Nutty Korean Principal is a member of the grievance industry -- so was being insensitive to most of her 1,600 students in the name of "inclusivity."

The good news arrived at PS 169 in Sunset Park on Monday morning, a day after The Post exposed the bizarre PC extremism of Principal Eujin Jaela Kim.

District 15 Superintendent Anita Skop stormed in the front door at 9:50 a.m., and minutes later, two fifth-grade boys were brought to the main office to lead a recital over the public address system of the Pledge of Allegiance, teachers told The Post.

As The Post reported on Sunday, the pledge hadn’t been said over the loudspeakers since the beginning of the school year. Kim, 33, became principal in May 2014.

Santa Claus is now reinstated at the school, and Department of Education officials said on Monday that the Pledge of Allegiance will be recited over the PA system every morning, in response to concerns from the community.

“It never would have happened if The Post didn’t do the story. That’s the only way we got our voices heard,” PTA president Mimi Ferrer said.

“I’m ecstatic that Santa can come back. Hopefully, he can make a visit to the kids in our school for our winter celebration on Thursday.”

At a school leadership team meeting last week, Kim told staffers, “Do not celebrate Christmas, do not celebrate gift-gifting, do not celebrate Santa. We need to be respectful,” according to a school source.  “Christmas is a Christian celebration and something that is tied to religion,” Kim told them, according to the source.

DOE officials said on Monday that PS 169 administrators were mistaken in believing that Santa could not be used as a holiday symbol.  Only depictions of religious figures or texts are banned.

“We work to foster inclusive communities in our schools that welcome students and families, and celebrate the diverse values and traditions of all New Yorkers,” DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye said in a statement.

“This principal continues to work closely with her school community to ensure PS 169 is an inclusive school, meet students’ and families’ needs, and celebrate the values that make her community and New York City great,” Kaye said.

Officials said the school emailed staffers new guidelines on Monday allowing the use of Santa Claus “as a holiday symbol with secular dimensions.”

“I apologize for any confusion this may have caused,” Kim wrote in the email.


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