Orange County high school under fire over student athletes praying

Updated:

Loading

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Some central Florida school districts are facing complaints over pictures showing student athletes praying.

Seminole High School was recently targeted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation after a picture surfaced on Facebook of the football team praying while a teammate was being looked at by a medic.

An Orange County school was forced to make some changes after the foundation sent the district a complaint singling out Apopka High School.

Pastor Todd Lamphere has volunteered as a chaplain with the school’s football team for years, but now his title has come under fire.

“I was called a 'chaplain' before. I’m now called a 'life coach' and that’s perfectly fine with me. The title is not important to me,” said Lamphere.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation mentioned Lamphere in a complaint they sent to the district in March.

The district responded with a memo reminding employees the team could not have an official chaplain per state law.

The foundation is also concerned about coach-led prayer at the school.

Lamphere said it’s the students who initiate prayer, not the coaches.

“Within the bound of the law as it is now, students are the ones that are praying, and they need to pray, and they are doing a great job at praying,” Lamphere said.

The foundation also complained about a Bible verse on signs that appear to be on school grounds.

One sign states “Prepare for Glory," a reference to Corinthians 4:15.

The school district wrote in the memo the phrases are fine, but the Bible citation must go.

The signs have since been removed.

Lamphere said he plans to stay on the sidelines during games, but he’s proud of the players who want to pray.

“My goal is to just be a support and encouragement to our players and coaching staff,” he said.

The memo also reminded district employees to comply with the law to avoid any costly litigation.