A self-described chaplain has been asked to stop working with the Valley football team of the West Des Moines Community School District (WDNCS), in Iowa, on praying before and after games. 

Accordingly, WDMCS volunteer Chris Barr, he was told to temporarily refrain from the activity, West Des Moines Superintendent Lisa Remy said Monday, Sept. 23, on a Facebook post.

The district said they made the decision after receiving written concerns from parents that the prayers were a violation of the First Amendment.

It was reported that Barr did not pray with players on Friday night, Sept. 20, when Valley played Waukee. 

Barr doesn’t work for the district. He works with West Des Moines Community Schools Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an independent organization that works with Christian students enrolled in West Des Moines schools, according to ABC9.

An online petition to “Keep Chris Barr as Tigers Chaplain” started by a Valley football player, said members of the Valley team walked from the midfield logo to the end zone and knelt to pray before Friday’s game in support of Barr.

The petition had more than 1,200 supporters before it closed Monday morning. 

Some states have enacted laws to address prayer in public schools. Iowa has not, but it still must follow federal laws regarding religion in public schools.

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