DANVILLE -- Another school district in our area has ordered the head football coach to stop praying with his players.
Members of the Danville Area High School football team have a tradition of praying before each game. A national group fighting for the separation of church and state found out about that, and like it did at another school in our area this season, helped put an end to it.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Danville Area's superintendent this week after someone posted a video on social media of a coach appearing to pray with the football team.
This is the same group that stopped Dunmore High School's coach from praying with his team this fall.
"Prayer can occur in a public school if it is student-driven and that our coaches are not to participate in any way," said Danville Superintendent Cheryl Latorre.
Earlier in the football season, Latorre was contacted by a parent who saw a post on social media where the team was singing a hymn. The parent was concerned that a coach was praying with them.
"At one point, one coach did kneel down and that is what caused it. It was a social media piece, a Facebook piece, that was sent out to this Freedom From Religion Foundation," Latorre explained.
Latorre was contacted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group that works to ensure the separation of church and state. The group asked the school district to provide it with assurances that coaches are not leading students in prayer.
"We've instituted the case law. We've made sure this isn't happening," said Latorre.
The Danville Area School District updated its coaches handbook to include this information so the coaches of all of the sports teams are aware.
Jim Packer coached his son's hockey team but not for a public school.
"They should be able to do what they want to do, whether they're a coach or the athlete themselves," said Packer. "The kids were allowed to do pretty much what they wanted. And we always got together, maybe not so much in a religious way, but we always got together and prayed for the best."