Church and school still at odds after judge's ruling - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Church and school still at odds after judge's ruling

WHITNEY, TX (KXXV) - Church and school leaders are shocked a five month dispute will have to go to court before being settled. On Monday, a judge ruled in favor of the Prairie Valley Baptist Church to allow them to use Whitney ISD's facilities for a bible study.

Last December, the church asked the school district for permission, but Whitney ISD refused for various reasons. Five months later, the church is still fighting for the right to use the school. Attorneys for the church say the school district isn't following the law, and they have documentation to show a variety of issues that the school district brought up to keep them from holding their bible study at the school.

Prairie Valley Baptist Church pastor Russell Penney says this conflict goes a lot further than the issues the school district has brought up.

"We never got a positive answer in the least. None of the answers have been positive and there have been many. So I never felt like they were supporting the idea," Penney said. "We are morally actually teaching a Judeo-Christian ethic supporting those very people on the school board, the principal, the teachers, and coming along side them and supporting them on this. And I just want them to follow the law."

The school district released a statement Tuesday afternoon. They say the church requested a time period that is not open for community use, and instead of following the rules the church has decided to sue instead.

"The district opens its facilities to the community, including churches and religious ministries, for educational, recreational, civic and social activities…the board and administration will review the lawsuit with its legal counsel and will respond appropriately," Whitney ISD Superintendent Gene Solis said.

Next Friday the school and church will meet for a temporary injunction hearing.

Click here for the release from Whitney ISD.
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