After a football coach at a public high school knelt in prayer on the field after games, school district officials tried to stop him on the grounds that his actions were coercive, making students feel that they were being forced to pray.

The case landed in the Supreme Court, which  ruled in 2022, in Kennedy v. Bremerton, that the school district had overstepped, saying it had violated his freedom of religion under the First Amendment. A 6-3 majority found that the district was not justified in stopping the coach’s prayers because he was acting as an individual, not as a coach, when he chose to pray publicly after the game.

It wasn’t the first time that a Supreme Court ruling on school prayer made national news. In Engel v. Vitale in 1962, the court ruled that even voluntary state-sponsored school prayer violated the separation of church and state.

As SCOTUS Examines School Prayer, Families Behind a Landmark Ruling Speak Out