BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Days after landing in hot water over news that prayer would not longer be allowed over the PA speakers at football games, Jefferson County Schools has released a statement putting out their views on the matter.

The statement comes days after the Freedom From Religion Foundation had announced that the school system would no longer have prayer announced over the loud speakers at high school football games. The group had previously filed a complaint to the school system last fall about the practice.

Below is the following statement from Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gounsoulin:

“Any assertion that the Jefferson County school system will no longer permit school prayer during school activities is simply not correct. The right to pray and to religious expression is guaranteed under our laws and Constitution. The Superintendent and the Jefferson County Board not only respect those rights, but will do everything in their power to make sure that those rights are protected, respected, and honored. Our country was founded on these inalienable rights. Our school board and superintendent believe in them. To the extent those rights are attacked or called into question by others who do not live here, who do not have the same respect for those freedoms, and who do not represent the values of our community, this Superintendent and Board will stand with our students, families, employees, and communities in defense of the right to pray and to express their religious beliefs.

“The letter that was sent to the Freedom from Religion Foundation by our attorney was not intended to provide a comprehensive analysis of school prayer in every context. While it was sent in good faith with the best of intentions, it was not reviewed or approved by the Superintendent or the Board before it was sent.

“Let us be clear, this board of education and superintendent fully supports the rights of its students and all members of the education community to pray and engage in voluntary religious expression in school settings. To underscore that commitment, we reaffirm our longstanding official policy guaranteeing the right to voluntary religious expression. We are further directing our attorneys to prepare for our approval a formal resolution supporting the position of football coach Joseph Kennedy in his effort to secure his right to engage in post-game prayer with team members and members of the public. Coach Kennedy’s case is pending before the United States Supreme Court and should be decided later this year.”

Joseph Kennedy was an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington who was fired by the school system in 2015 after refusing to stop praying at midfield after games, a practice he had done several times.