Non-Christian Schools Face Obstacles in Joining Texas Association for Private Schools

May 29, 2006

Source: The Dallas Morning News


On May 29, 2006 The Dallas Morning News reported, "TAPPS is open to schools of all faiths, though most of its members are Christian schools. But Jewish and Islamic schools have faced barriers to belonging. When an Islamic school in Houston applied for membership in 2004, Edd Burleson, TAPPS' executive director, discouraged the school in a letter suggesting that its students would not fit in with non-Muslims. The school stopped pursuing membership, and a national Islamic organization demanded an apology from TAPPS. But Burleson, who said he formed his opinion after reading the Quran, hasn't changed his opinion. 'The Quran preaches if you're not a Muslim, you're an infidel,' Burleson said recently. 'It teaches death to all infidels'... TAPPS officials said Jewish schools are welcome as long as their days of religious observances don't affect TAPPS scheduling. Houston's Emery/Weiner School is the lone Jewish-based TAPPS school. Andrew Kayes, director of athletics, said district opponents have agreed to play most games with Emery/Weiner on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When playoff games are scheduled for the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, the school lets its athletes choose whether to play. Dallas' Yavneh Academy is modern Orthodox and has stricter rules. TAPPS used to allow Yavneh to adjust its playoff schedule but changed its policy. That change was one reason the school left TAPPS in 2000, said Chad Baruch, assistant principal and athletic director. 'I just think TAPPS is a Christian organization, which is fine,' Baruch said. 'I would have felt better if they would have just told us that.' Larry Crooks, the TAPPS executive board president and assistant principal at Dallas Christian, acknowledges that Christianity is important to TAPPS officials, who open every meeting with a prayer."