The Dallas Morning News‘ Barry Horn recently profiled Edd Burleson, the director of the Texas Asssociation of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) organization, whose name became nationally known when TAPPS refused to allow Beren Academy, a Houston Jewish day school that has not been part of the association very long, to reschedule a playoff game that conflicted with Jewish religious observance.
TAPPS eventuallly backed down after some of Beren’s students and their parents threatened to file a restraining order.
Three weeks later, Burleson, who Edwin Black of the Huffington Post recently quoted as saying, “I can’t think of a Jewish person that I have any contact with,” has no regrets. Well, maybe one:
“We shouldn’t have accepted [Beren] in the first place,” Burleson responded without hesitation.
“What else would you want me to say?” he asked. “Want me to come up with some politically correct gobbledygook? I can’t. I’m telling you that’s how I feel.”
TAPPS is composed mostly of Christian, Catholic and some multi-denominational or secular institions. Its bylaws prohibit games on Sunday.
The 77-year-old Burleson, a Waco graduate and former state championship-winning high school football coach, tells Horn that TAPPS would have won in court, but there was no time for a legal battle.
Now, however, TAPPS is fighting an internal battle. As Angel Verdejo of the Houston Chronicle reported in late March, 43 high schools represented by the Texas Catholic Conference, comprising nearly twenty percent of TAPPS’ membership, wrote a letter questioning the association’s handling of Beren and its dubious history with Muslim schools.
Texas Catholic Conference education director Margaret McGettrick called for a review of TAPPS’ governance and operational structure, to be done by a committee that “should be broadly representative of TAPPS’ denominational, institutional and geographic diversity, to ensure that the issues and concerns of all members are accounted for and addressed.”
“If there was no change in the internal direction of TAPPS, [leaving the organization] would be a strong possibility,” McGettrick told the Chronicle.
But she seemed more optimistic in the Morning News story. Horn reported that Burleson and representatives of TAPPS schools met to discuss the letter last week and that McGettrick “said she had a sense from the TAPPS meeting that change would be forthcoming.”
“I’m pleased,” she said. “This is a diverse country. The sooner we all start getting along and realizing this is a smaller world, the better we would be.”
Beren Academy head Rabbi Harry Sinoff told Horn that the school would like stay.
“We all subscribe to the TAPPS motto, ‘Competition With Honor,’” Sinoff said. “It is a great association at a crossroad. We are hopeful it is on the move to being more inclusive.”