Texas AG concerned about Frisco high school's ‘prayer room'

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is concerned Muslim students at a Frisco high school are being given preferential treatment.

It’s based on a classroom that students use to pray. He claims it may be a violation of the first amendment and sent a letter to the superintendent.

The district says Liberty High School has the most involved Muslims, but there are several schools that have similar prayers rooms.

For 30 minutes each school day at 2 p.m., Room C112 at Liberty High School becomes a prayer room. The district says students of all faiths can use it, but it's used mostly by Muslims.

"We are required, as a district, to provide students the opportunity to pray,” said Frisco ISD Spokesperson Chris Moore.

But Paxton fears not every student has that opportunity in the prayer room. He sent a letter to the district on Friday saying in part, “it is unclear whether students of other faiths may use the room."

Moore says Christian students meet in another classroom to pray before school. But the Muslim students pray several times a day. And without the space, some would leave school for more than an hour to go to a mosque.

"Instead of the students leaving campus with their parents, the principal went to that group, talked with the parents, talked with the students and said, 'is there a way we could accommodate this at the school?’” explained Moore.

The school newspaper interviewed Principal Scott Warstler about it in a story published earlier this month.

"As long as it is student led, where the students are organizing and running it, we pretty much have the school stay out of that and allow them their freedom to practice their religion,” the principal explained.

It was the school report that grabbed Paxton's attention, leading him to write the letter. But Warstler says he came up with the arrangement seven years ago and hasn't been a problem until now.

"Why this has come about at this point in time? I'm not sure,” Moore said.

In his letter, Paxton wrote that his "initial inquiry about the prayer room left several questions unresolved." The district spokesperson says he has no record of Paxton contacting the district for an initial inquiry.