Apopka High School football players to lead prayers at games amid controversy

Coaches, staff told by school district to not lead the team in prayer

APOPKA, Fla. - Players on the Apopka High School football team will now lead team prayers at games and practice after the coaches and staff were told by the school district, they could no longer lead the team in prayer citing illegal religious activity.

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The complaint came from the Freedom from Religion Foundation consists of mostly atheist parents, and the group is looking into allegations that a chaplain led the players in prayer.

Athletic Director Fred Priest is taking the new policy very seriously and told Local 6 there will be no kneeling, touching or huddling with the players. The coaches have decided themselves to stand yards away.

Local 6 saw that policy in effect at practice Thursday.

Apopka High wide receiver Noah Johnson says he led the team last Friday and teammates will continue to lead the prayers because it is tradition for the team that helps bond the players.

The debate about prayer on the field has legs on Facebook where more than 2,000 people have been invited to "cover the field" and pray with the team at Friday night's game.

"The school board is following the law," Johnson said. "It does disappoint us in a way, but you can't stop God. You cant stop what he is doing."

The team prayer controversy comes a day after Local 6 first reported that the Freedom from Religion Foundation was investigating a complaint received at Seminole High School in Sanford.

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