There has been a significant increase in Muslim students seeking to pray in public schools in the U.S., according to The Washington Post one Marlyand high school has found a way to accommodate them.
The Principal, Cheryl J. Logan, says that those students with parental permission and high grades receive a pass to leave class and pray every day.
10 Muslims at Parkdale High School are permitted to leave class for eight minutes each day to pray together on campus, Logan said that one student is working hard to raise his grades so he is able to join the group.
The young people are part of the Muslim students’ association.
Logan stated that when the Muslim students had initially started praying during the school day it upset some of the Christian teachers. They told the students “it was a Christian school.”
The principal went on to explain the situation to the students; public schools are not religious but are legally able to accommodate students who wish to practice their religion.
“I’ve been real happy with how we’ve been able to deal with it without it becoming an issue,” she said.
Charles Haynes, the director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism based in Washington, has said that allowing Muslim students to pray is “certainly permissible” under the U.S. Constitution though probably not required.
Some states have passed laws which obligate schools to “simply treat everyone the same way and not give exemptions or special accommodations for religious reasons.”
The Montgomery County Board of Education informed leaders of the county’s growing Muslim community and that it would be impossible to add an Islamic holy day to the school calendar.
However, there are Christian and Jewish holidays on the school calendar as the dates were decided a long time ago.
According to the American Civil Liberties Association female teachers and students are not allowed to wear a hijab or have been harassed for doing so.