After much debate on the national scene, and now legal action, the Beren Academy (Houston)
boys basketball team will indeed play in a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 2A boys basketball playoff semifinal.
The Houston Chronicle reports that a temporary restraining order filed Thursday against TAPPS has the Beren boys back in the bracket after the kids from the Orthodox Jewish school were originally forced to forfeit Friday's playoff game
. The originally scheduled 9 p.m. start Friday conflicts with Jewish observation of the Sabbath, or Shabbat, which typically includes services at a synagogue and a Shabbat dinner.
TAPPS put this statement on its website: "TAPPS has been served a Temporary Restraining Order which requires the
Beran (sic) Academy be allowed to participate in the 2012 TAPPS State
Basketball Tournament. TAPPS will comply with the order. TAPPS is
currently making the necessary changes in the schedule. Actual time and
location for Friday's semifinal will be posted as soon as all
arrangements are confirmed."
Administration at the school maintained early on that it did not want
the issue dealt with in the legal system, but parents filed a suit in
U.S. District Court claiming a violation of religious freedoms. Part of a statement from the school, in which the entirety can be found in the Chronicle's story, read: "We are thankful to the TAPPS for ultimately making the right decision.
The school administration and board was not involved in any legal action
and we regret that it took a lawsuit filed parents to bring about this
decision. ... We are very proud of our basketball team, the Beren Stars.
Not only have the boys demonstrated considerable skill on the court
this season, they have handled the stress of the past week with
extraordinary maturity and composure."
The controversy went viral this week, with former Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy commenting on the issue in the New York Times. Houston mayor Annise Parker, U.S. Senator John Cornyn and state Senators Rodney Ellis and Dan Patrick all have also made public comments on the situation.
As of now, the game time still needs to be adjusted.