Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas is allowing Muslims to have a dedicated classroom to pray during the school day. See Liberty High School March 3, 2017 Wingspan newspaper article below titled Classroom becomes prayer room.
WFAA 8 ABC reported on March 19, 2017 Paxton's office outlines concerns over ‘prayer room' in letter to Frisco ISD
DALLAS - The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote a letter to Frisco ISD Friday expressing concern over a “prayer room” in one of the district’s schools.
Liberty High School has an empty classroom where students can pray during the school day. Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie’s letter to Frisco ISD’s superintendent questioned the legality of the prayer room, saying the room is dedicated to Islamic students and excludes other religions.
“Liberty High School’s policy should be neutral toward religion,” the letter reads. “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.”
The letter references a March 3 article in the Liberty High School Campus Wingspan -- the school’s student-run news outlet -- that says the prayer room “addresses the religious needs of some students.”
CAIR Texas issued a news release on March 19, 2017 titled CAIR Condemns Texas Attorney General's 'Cheap Islamophobic Publicity Stunt'
(AUSTIN, TEXAS, 3/19/17) The Texas office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Texas) today condemned what it called a "cheap Islamophobic publicity stunt" by that state's Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office has raised objections to the use of a spare classroom by Muslim middle school students to perform their daily prayers.
Paxton's office sent the Frisco school district superintendent a letter Friday expressing "concerns" that the classroom is being used by Muslim students. In a news release, Paxton's office falsely stated: "Recent news reports have indicated that the high school's prayer room is. . .apparently excluding students of other faiths." .
Ironically, it appears that CAIR is “falsely” accusing “Paxton's office of falsely stating: ‘Recent news reports have indicated that the high school's prayer room is. . .apparently excluding students of other faiths.’” The high school’s own article about this situation posted below clearly states that this classroom is used to provide a place for Muslims to pray throughout the school day.
Florida Family Association has prepared a short email for you to send to thank Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for challenging the special prayer room for one religion. A copy of the email will also be sent to Liberty High School Principal Scott Warstler and the Frisco Independent School District Board Members.
To send your email, please click the following link, enter your name and email address then click the "Send Your Message" button. You may also edit the subject or message text if you wish.
Click here to send email to thank Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for challenging the use of public school classroom exclusively for Muslim prayer. A copy of the email will be sent to the Liberty High School Principal Scott Warstler and the Frisco Independent School District Board Members.
Liberty High School March 3, 2017 Wingspan newspaper published the following article titled: Classroom becomes prayer room
At many public schools, religion isn’t talked about openly.
But here on campus, there’s a room dedicated to the religious needs of some students.
Every day during lunches, room C112 is utilized as a prayer room.
While most religions do not dictate specific times to pray, Islam is different in this regard.
“By praying five times a day, which includes movements such as bowing and prostrating where you actually place your forehead and the tip of your nose on to the floor and also facing a specific direction, not only shows uniformity, in terms of how Muslims pray together and come together for that purpose,” Islamic Association of Collin County Youth Director Ryan Hilliard said. “But even more importantly it shows that they’re willing to put their entire body and their entire mind and their soul into this act and be able to focus on that moment where they’re able to have this conversation with God, when in many other places they would not be able to do so.”
The campus prayer room has been available for students since 2009.
“This is my seventh year at Liberty, my first year it kind of started when a core group of students were leaving campus every Friday for Friday prayer,” Principal Scott Warstler said. “Their parents would come pick them up, so they may miss an hour and a half to two hours to two and a half hours of school every Friday, so I met with those students and a couple of their parents and suggested if they would be okay if the students were able to lead the prayer at school as a group, and we gave them a space to do that so they didn’t have to be in a car traveling thirty minutes each way on a Friday missing an hour, hour and a half, of class.”
It started with a small group of students in one of the AP conference rooms, but as more and more students got involved, it was moved to a classroom.
“I think the trademark of what makes Liberty High so great is our diversity and in how our students respond to the different cultures and diversity on campus,” Warstler said. “Like I’ve said, this is the seventh year that we’ve been doing this and we’ve never had one issue. You know we have other religious student groups that meet maybe before school or maybe after school. As long as it’s student-led, where the students are organizing and running it, we pretty much as a school stay out of that and allow them their freedom to practice their religion.”
Texas Attorney General
Director of Communications
Scott Warstler, Principal
Liberty High School