Controversy Over Prayer Room at Texas High School

Liberty High School in Frisco has a room where students of any religion can pray and meditate but the Texas Attorney General's office made a big deal about the room Friday asking the superintendent to ensure the room is not limited to students who pract

"It takes five minutes instead of having to leave school, get in the auto, and go with my parents to the actual masjid and then coming back".

"Like I've said, this is the seventh year that we've been doing this and we've never had one issue".

In a letter to Frisco ISD, the Attorney General's Office wrote, "It appears that students are being treated differently based on their religious beliefs" and asked that the room be made "accessible to students of all religious denominations".

The real issue, according to the letter, is whether students who practice a religion other than Islam are allowed to use it.

In the past, Paxton - who once sued a middle school principal to keep a Bible quote on a door - has criticized what he calls anti-Christian discrimination in public schools, and now he has zeroed in on Frisco, intent on righting the wrongs he claims are occurring in an empty high school classroom that some students use to pray.

The bigger sticking point for Moore and Lyon is the fact that the Attorney General's Office fired off its question attached to a widely distributed press release, giving the AG's worry about constitutional liberties a definite odor of politicking.

Moore said the district is trying to make contact with the attorney general's office to clarify the room is open to all. "It is important to note Frisco ISD is greatly concerned that this type of inflammatory rhetoric in the current climate may place the District, its students, staff, parents, and community in danger of unnecessary disruption", the superintendent wrote. And, as the Washington Post noted, Paxton went to court past year to force a Killeen school to allow a nurse's aide to put a poster on her door of A Charlie Brown Christmas that included a biblical passage about the birth of Christ.

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Three months later, his eye fell on Frisco. "Liberty High School's policy should be neutral toward religion", reads the letter from Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie to Frisco ISD Superintendent Jeremy Lyon.

However, your letter to me begins by indicating it is written following an "initial inquiry" that "left several questions unresolved".

It sounded like the state had been investigating the matter, but school officials said they were blindsided when reporters started calling on Friday.

Lyon pointed out that the OAG claimed it was responding to an "initial inquiry" but that there was zero evidence the office had ever reached out to the district over its apparent "concerns". "It's a room Buddhist students, Jewish students, Catholic students, Hindu students, anyone who wants to use that room in that capacity can".

Mr Paxton's letter was backed up by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. "Confusingly, however, the OAG's office applauds the Frisco ISD's "willingness to guarantee the freedom of student-led religious groups" which is exactly what is required under the Act". "The letter from your office ignores the District's obligations in this regard".

"We have other religious student groups that meet maybe before school or maybe after school", Liberty High principal Scott Warstler told Wingspan.

A school district spokesman responded that the classroom is available to "students of all walks of life" in the afternoon when it is vacant.

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