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High school football coach reinstated after winning $1.7 million settlement

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Joseph Kennedy was terminated from his high school football coaching position after continued to conduct post game prayers with students.

Kennedy is now set to receive $1.7 million after the Bremerton School Board in Washington state accepted a settlement. He will also get his job back starting this upcoming season.

The school board’s decision follows the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that Kennedy’s prayer groups were protected by the First Amendment.

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Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal case, Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District, was argued before the Supreme Court on April 25, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal case, Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District, was argued before the Supreme Court on April 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Kennedy’s attorney mentioned that the coach is expected to go back to Bremerton to resume his football duties.

“Mr. Kennedy will be an assistant football coach for Bremerton High School for the 2023 season,” the district said on its official website.

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School officials also noted Kennedy’s attorneys would be paid in interest-free installments over three fiscal years.

Kennedy joined the Bremerton High School football coaching staff in 2008, The Seattle Times reported. Initially, Kennedy would pray alone at midfield following games, but later students and football player began to join him.

Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal case, Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District, was argued before the Supreme Court on April 25, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy answers questions after his legal case, Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District, was argued before the Supreme Court on April 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

He was suspended by the school district in 2015 after he reportedly refused to stop giving speeches that contained religious references.

Ultimately, Kennedy’s contract was not renewed.

Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy holds hands with his wife Denise as he walks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with members of his legal team after his case, Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District, was argued before the Supreme Court April 25, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Former Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy holds hands with his wife Denise as he walks in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with members of his legal team after his case, Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District, was argued before the Supreme Court April 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Kennedy then decided to pursue legal actions and his attorneys eventually brought the case before the Supreme Court.

Kennedy has previously expressed his belief that the prayers were private acts of faith. The school district countered saying the Constitution’s prohibition on government officials promoting a religion was violated once students became involved.

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The settlement was approved by the school board on March 16.

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