The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which faced controversy last spring in a basketball tournament scheduling issue with a local Orthodox Jewish school, has amended its bylaws to ensure that its statewide high school competitions will not conflict with “the Sabbath and religious days of observance” of member schools.
The policy change, posted on the TAPPS website, is designed “to provide the opportunity for all of our member schools to participate in team sports,” the group said.
TAPPS last spring rescheduled its state boys basketball tournament when it chose not to fight legal action by parents of students attending Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish school in Houston whose team had qualified for the tournament but refused to play its scheduled game on Friday during the Jewish Sabbath.
TAPPS traditionally has prohibited events on Sunday to coincide with Christian days of worship, and the group also noted that it tries to comply with the National Federation of High School Associations policy that calls for weekend competition to limit students’ time away from classroom.
The amended policy avoiding statewide events on “religious days of observance,” a clear reference to schools associated with denominations that observe the Sabbath on Friday or Saturday, is designed to make competitions “accessible to all member schools and the students that they serve.”