While state law expressly recognizes Good Friday as a date for which schools must provide an excused absence for students, some school districts are requiring parents to provide “documentation” of their attendance in religious ceremonies. Because inclement weather this winter forced schools to be closed, some are using Good Friday as a “make up” day, according to a traditional values group.
“We are concerned that Good Friday would be chosen as a “make up” day to begin with, but we are even more concerned that students and families may be punished for exercising their First Amendment rights because school districts refuse to the law,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values.
According to Saenz, the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District has asked parents to provide “documentation of participation” in a religious exercise. The problem, according to Saenz, is that requirement exceeds state law.
Good Friday is considered a “holy day” for Christians. A Texas Values release notes that the state education code requires schools to provide an “excused” absence for students when they observe a religious holy day, but does not say a child has to attend a specific religious event.
A message left Thursday afternoon with Judy Ramos, director of communications for H-E-B ISD was not returned at time of publication.
“Students and parents should not be bullied by school districts who refuse to respect religious liberty,” said Saenz.
Michael Quinn Sullivan is the President of Empower Texans