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Beren Academy Parents vs. TAPPS

Beren Academy Parents vs. TAPPS

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Published by TexasMonthly

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Published by: TexasMonthly on Mar 02, 2012
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11/08/2012

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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. ____________ PLAINTIFFS’ ORIGINAL COMPLAINT, APPLICATIONFOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, ANDAPPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION
Plaintiffs Isaac Mirwis, Isaac Buchine, and Isaac Jacobson (“Student Plaintiffs”), EtanMirwis, Mark Buchine, and Myra Weisfeld (“Parent Plaintiffs”), make this their OriginalComplaint, Application for Temporary Restraining Order, and Application for Temporary andPermanent Injunction, complaining of Mansfield Independent School District (“MISD”) andTexas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (“TAPPS”). Plaintiffs’ Application issupported by the declarations of Isaac Mirwis and Richard Rohan, attached hereto, andPlaintiffs’ Brief in Support of its Application for Temporary Restraining Order and PreliminaryInjunction, which is also being filed contemporaneously herewith.
I. PARTIES
1.
 
Plaintiffs Isaac Mirwis, Isaac Buchine, and Isaac Jacobson are individualsresiding in Houston, Texas, and are members of the Beren boys’ basketball team. Mirwis is a
Case 3:12-cv-00630-N Document 1 Filed 03/01/12 Page 1 of 14 PageID 1
 
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captain of the team. Collectively, these Plaintiffs are sometimes referred to herein as the StudentPlaintiffs.2.
 
Plaintiffs Etan Mirwis, Mark Buchine, and Myra Weisfeld are individuals residingin Houston, Texas, and are the parents of the Student Plaintiffs described in paragraphs 2 and 3above. Collectively, these Plaintiffs are sometimes referred to herein as the Parent Plaintiffs.3.
 
MISD is a school district and political subdivision of the State of Texas thatoperates, oversees and administers public schools in the City of Mansfield, Texas. MISD is a“government agency” within the meaning of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act(“TRFRA”), Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 110.001 et seq., as it is an agency of theState or of a municipality or other political subdivision of the State of Texas. Pursuant to TexasCivil Practice & Remedies Code § 17.024(c), MISD may be served with process by serving itsSuperintendent, Dr. Bob Morrison, at Mansfield ISD, 605 East Broad Street, Mansfield, TX76063.4.
 
TAPPS is a not-for-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Texas, and with its principal place of business at 601 N. Main, P.O. Box 1039, Salado, Texas76571. TAPPS may be served by service upon its President, Mr. Edd Burleson, at 601 N. Main,Salado, Texas 76571.
II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
5.
 
This court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and1343, as the Plaintiffs’ claims arise under the Constitution and laws of the United States andconcern, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution of theUnited States. This Court has supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 over Plaintiffs’ claims under the TRFRA and for breach of contract.
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6.
 
Venue is appropriate in the Northern District of Texas pursuant to28 U.S.C. § 1391, because Defendant TAPPS resides in this judicial district within the meaningof 28 U.S.C. § 1391(d).
III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
7.
 
Robert M. Beren Hebrew Academy (“Beren”) is a not-for-profit corporation thatoperates a school in Houston, Texas, providing religious and secular education for grades pre-K through 12th grade in accordance with the tenets of Orthodox Judaism.8.
 
Plaintiffs are current members, and parents of current members, of Beren’s boys’high school basketball team who are being denied, solely on account of their religiousobservance, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in their athletic conference’s state basketball championship tournament scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday, March 2and 3, 2012.9.
 
Defendant TAPPS is the association that organizes and administers the athleticconference in which Beren competes and which organizes the State championship basketballtournament. TAPPS is a membership association consisting of private and parochial schoolsthroughout the State of Texas. TAPPS organizes competitions for its member schools inathletics and in the fine arts. Schools apply and pay a fee to become members of TAPPS.10.
 
Defendant MISD is the public governmental agency that is providing the facilitieswhere the TAPPS championship basketball tournament will be taking place on March 2-3, 2012.11.
 
The concerted actions of TAPPS and MISD (a) burden and interfere with thesincere religious beliefs and observances of Beren and its students and the sincere religious beliefs and observances of current and future students of the Burton Adventist Academy, (b) prefer Sunday-observing religions and religious beliefs over Saturday-observing religions, and(c) violate TAPPS’s own rules and regulations. Plaintiffs seek a Temporary Restraining Order,
Case 3:12-cv-00630-N Document 1 Filed 03/01/12 Page 3 of 14 PageID 3

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