published Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Walker County Schools superintendent, Ridgeland football coach say they haven’t done anything wrong

  • photo
    Ridgeland High School football coach Mark Mariakis reads a prepared statement to the media during a news conference at the Walker County school.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Walker County Schools Superintendent Damon Raines said he stands behind Ridgeland High School football coach Mark Mariakis and says the team hasn’t done anything wrong when it comes to religious activities.

At a news conference this afternoon at Ridgeland High School, Raines said several allegations made by the Freedom From Religion Foundation are false and the team will continue student-led prayer.

On Aug. 21, Ridgeland High’s administration received a letter from the foundation, calling for an investigation into several alleged football team religious activities, including church-sponsored meals before games, at least one of which included a sermon.

Raines said they did investigate the foundation's claims.

At the news conference, Mariakis said he didn’t believe he has done anything wrong and said he supported the team and will continue to try to build team members’ character.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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