Special to Inside The Pew
AUSTIN – In a letter sent March 17 to the superintendent of the Frisco (Texas) Independent School District, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office outlines legal concerns over Liberty High School’s prayer room, which may violate the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty.
Recent news reports have indicated that the high school’s prayer room is dedicated to students who practice Islam, while apparently excluding students of other faiths.
Muslim students at Liberty High School in Frisco have been allowed since 2009 to pray in a classroom that’s vacant for part of the afternoon.
“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, it appears that students are being treated different based on their religious beliefs. Such a practice, of course, is irreconcilable with our nation’s enduring commitment to religious liberty.”
While applauding the superintendent’s efforts to create an environment where students can freely practice their religion, the letter from Attorney General Paxton’s office reminds the Frisco ISD that, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, “one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another.”
However, according to the CBS affiliate in Dallas, said the room is open to all students, regardless of their religion.
The letter asks that school officials ensure that Liberty High School’s prayer room is accessible to students of all religious denominations, consistent with the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty.
In response to the Attorney General’s letter, Lyon said, “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.”
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