Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Coach will form religious group

He was sued for leading prayers at school

The Associated Press

        LONDON, Ohio — A former high school football coach who was at the center of a dispute over prayer in school says he plans to leave this central Ohio community and start a religious group.

        David Daubenmire said he is starting an organization to be known as “Pass the Salt Ministries.”

        “I want to deal with what I see as the moral collapse of our culture,” he told the Madison Press for a story Monday.

        Mr. Daubenmire, then coach at London High School, was named in a lawsuit filed last summer against London City Schools by the American Civil Liberties Union. Some parents had complained that the coach's practice of leading players in prayer violated the required separation of government and religion.

        The case was settled in October, and school officials said Mr. Daubenmire and the district had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

        A federal judge will monitor the school district for two years. Also, school administrators will supervise team meetings, practices and gatherings to monitor compliance with district policy forbidding coaches from engaging in religious activity on school time.

        Mr. Daubenmire resigned from coaching in January. He told the newspaper that he and his family will move back to his hometown of Hebron, east of Columbus.

        “My kids need a new start,” Mr. Daubenmire said.

        London is about 25 miles west of Columbus.


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