Coach Kennedy "is to be reinstated to his previous position as assistant coach of the Bremerton High School football team" on or before March 15, 2023 – that's according to a ruling handed down Tuesday by a U.S. district court, which also requires that the school district pays his attorneys' fees and costs.
This latest ruling comes almost exactly four months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Bremerton (Washington) School District violated Kennedy's civil and constitutional rights when it fired him for his brief, public, post-game prayers in which students occasionally joined. That was the culmination of a seven-year battle by Kennedy to get his job back.
Kennedy was represented by First Liberty Institute in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. Before that case made it to the Supreme Court, lower courts (including the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals) had sided with the district.
"The Supreme Court very clearly said, back in June, that Coach Kennedy was entitled to his relief that he sought in his complaint and what he sought in his complaint was to get his job back," said Jeremy Dys, senior counsel at First Liberty, in an interview with The Washington Times.
"The good news is the school district has understood that it's time for Coach Kennedy to come back to Bremerton and be on the field again. And he'll be back on that field on or before March 15th of 2023."
Dys tells American Family News the springtime makes the most sense to start because that's when new coaches start so they can "get up to speed and get moving forward."
Seattle-based MyNorthwest.com reports the school district will be changing its policies to reflect the ruling for the coach's post-game prayers and must not "interfere with or prohibit Kennedy from offering a prayer." And The Washington Times explains that before he can resume supervising football players, the district "may require Kennedy to complete all necessary hiring forms and certifications."
The First Liberty attorney explains Kennedy has been living in Florida temporarily to take care of his ailing father-in-law.
"But he was just up there again [in Bremerton] last week visiting his kids, his grandkids, and watching the football games out there and spending time in the town he was adopted into as a kid," Dys shares. "He was born there but also was adopted into a family in that town ... after his service in the United States Marine Corps.
"Bremerton has always been Coach Kennedy's home," Dys concludes, "and the point has always been to get back on that field -- and that field happens to be in Bremerton, Washington. So, that is where he intends to go."