Our Attorney General has provided unsolicited legal advice to the Frisco ISD concerning a “prayer room” that one of the high schools in the district has made available to Muslim students. The AG wants to make sure that the folks in Frisco understand that they are not supposed to choose one religion over another.
So helpful! Of course it would have been more helpful if Mr. Paxton had privately communicated his concerns to the superintendent of the district. It would have been even more helpful if Mr. P had found out what really goes on in Frisco before sending his written advice to the media.
The pushback from Jeremy Lyon, the Frisco ISD superintendent, should cheer the hearts of educators tired of being kicked around by publicity seeking politicians. Here are a few juicy quotes.
After noting that there was no evidence that the AG contacted the district prior to issuing the press release:
Absent such evidence, this “Press Release” appears to be a publicity stunt by the OAG to politicize a non-issue.
What? Muslims praying in a public school is a non-issue? The superintendent explained:
The principal of Liberty High School noted in his interview there have not been any issues for over seven (7) years with this room, that is, however, until the OAG’s “Press Release.” It is important to note 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.
Paxton and other high ranking politicians are very concerned about the protection of religious freedom. Dan Patrick has made it a legislative priority. How ironic is it, then, that Paxton would stir the pot because a Texas district has found an effective way to protect the freedom of a religious minority group. The superintendent:
The reason for the prayer room is to accommodate the practices of students who would otherwise miss two hours of class time to travel once a week to and from prayer. The District is prohibited from failing to accommodate and/or discriminate against these students because their religion dictates the time and manner of their prayer.
That’s the law. Religious practices are to be accommodated in a reasonable way. If Christianity required Christians to pray five times a day, at specific times, including during the middle of the school day, our schools would be required to find a way to reasonably accommodate this practice. But Christianity does not require that. Islam does.
The folks in Frisco ISD understand that. It’s unfortunate that our state’s chief legal officer either does not understand that, or is only concerned with protecting the religious freedoms of the majority.
DAWG BONE: UNSOLICITED LEGAL ADVICE IS USUALLY A BAD IDEA.
Tomorrow: Toolbox Tuesday!!