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Published by: editorial.online on Mar 01, 2012
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXASDALLAS DIVISIONISAAC MIRWIS, ETAN MIRWIS,ISAAC BUCHINE, MARK BUCHINE,ISAAC JACOBSON, and MYRAWEISFELD,Plaintiffs,v.MANSFIELD INDEPENDENT SCHOOLDISTRICT and TEXAS ASSOCIATIONOF PRIVATE AND PAROCHIALSCHOOLS,Defendants.§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§Civil Action No. ____________TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Original Complaint, Application for TemporaryRestraining Order, and Application for Temporary and Permanent Injunction (the“Application”). Having considered the Application, the record, and the applicable law, the Courtfinds that a temporary restraining order is warranted.
I.
 
Factual Background
 This case involves a constitutional and statutory challenge to the scheduling of playoff games in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (“TAPPS”) Class 2–A highschool state basketball championship tournament. Plaintiffs, who are students at the Robert M.Beren Hebrew Academy (“Beren”) and current members of the Beren boys basketball team, aswell as their respective parents, seek the entry of a temporary restraining order prohibitingTAPPS and the Mansfield Independent School District (“MISD”) from conducting the Class 2–Asemifinal basketball games as currently scheduled on March 2 and 3, 2012. Plaintiffs assert that
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2TAPPS’s refusal to reschedule the semifinal and final playoff games to accommodate studentswho cannot, because of their religious beliefs and observances, participate in basketball gamesbetween sundown on Fridays and nightfall on Saturdays, violates the First Amendment to theUnited States Constitution and unconstitutionally burdens Plaintiff’s free exercise of religion inviolation of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“TRFRA”).Defendant TAPPS is a member organization consisting of private and parochial schoolsthroughout the State of Texas. On behalf of its member schools, TAPPS organizes andadministers competitions in athletics and the fine arts, including the Class 2–A statechampionship basketball tournament. Prior to the 2010–11 academic year, Beren registered as amember of TAPPS, paid the fee required of TAPPS members, and was accepted as a member.Beren subsequently applied to compete in boys basketball and was assigned to compete inTAPPS 2–A Division.During the 2011–12 academic year, Beren’s boys basketball team experiencedunprecedented success and, indeed, qualified to compete in the TAPPS post-season 2–A Divisionbasketball playoffs. As an Orthodox Jewish day school, Beren and its Plaintiff members observethe Jewish Sabbath, which under Orthodox Jewish Law and observance, begins at sundown onFriday evening and concludes twenty-five hours later at nightfall on Saturday. In observance of the Sabbath, Plaintiffs may not participate in athletic competitions on that holy day. TAPPS’sbylaws contain rules governing the scheduling and administration of its tournaments and athleticcompetitions, including one particular rule that provides playoff game days and times may bechanged by mutual agreement of the opposing teams.Plaintiffs presented evidence that, during the initial rounds of the TAPPS 2–A boysbasketball competition, some of Beren’s playoff games were originally scheduled for times
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3between sundown on Friday and nightfall on Saturday. Plaintiffs presented evidence that, oneach occasion and consistent with TAPPS’s own bylaws and rules, Beren successfully arrangedwith its scheduled opponent to play the game at a time other than during the Jewish Sabbath. Itis undisputed that Beren prevailed in each of its playoff games and, accordingly, has earned theright to advance to the TAPPS 2–A state semifinals.Upon advancing to the state semifinals, TAPPS representatives notified Beren that it isscheduled to compete against Dallas Covenant Christian School (“Covenant”) in the semifinalplayoff game at 9:00 p.m. on Friday night, March 2, 2012, at Mansfield High School, a publichigh school that is a member of MISD. Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs, tenants, and observancesprevent its student members from participating in the semifinal basketball game as it is currentlyscheduled during the hours of the Jewish Sabbath.Plaintiffs presented evidence that, upon learning of its semifinal opponent, arepresentative of Beren contacted the coach of Covenant to inquire whether Covenant wouldagree to begin the semifinal game earlier on Friday, March 2, to avoid a conflict with the JewishSabbath. Covenant’s coach replied that Covenant agreed to such an accommodation. Uponinformation and belief, the other two schools in the State semifinals of the 2–A tournamentbracket have similarly agreed to an accommodation whereby the final game could begin afternightfall on Saturday, March 3 if Beren were to compete and prevail in the semifinal gameagainst Covenant.Beren also approached Edd Burleson, Director of TAPPS, and requested that TAPPSagree to permit the semifinal and final games to be rescheduled to different times on Friday,March 2 and Saturday, March 3 to avoid the potential conflict with observance of the JewishSabbath. On Monday, February 27, 2012, the TAPPS executive board denied Beren’s request for
Case 3:12-cv-00630-N Document 1-4 Filed 03/01/12 Page 3 of 8 PageID 33

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