Religious Accommodations Group Helps Muslim Students in Seattle Schools

June 15, 2006

Source: The Seattle Times

On June 15, 2006 The Seattle Times reported, "On Friday afternoons, Nathan Hale High School senior Abdisiyad Adan asks his fifth-period teacher what he'll miss in class, writes down the homework for the weekend and leaves school. Other Muslim students at Nathan Hale pile into Adan's car, and they set off for the Idriss Mosque a little more than a mile away. By the time they return from their mandatory Friday prayers, the school day is nearly over. Adan's situation reflects the difficulties that the Seattle School District, and other public schools across the nation, face when dealing with Muslim prayer. Federal and state law prohibit teacher-led prayers in public schools, as well as student-led prayers at school events or religious programs. But laws protect the right of students to pray, and educators often struggle with how to accommodate students without disrupting class... Seattle School District guidelines give school administrators the responsibility of deciding how to handle Muslim prayer... The district's Office of Equity and Race Relations has established a committee to examine the needs of Muslim students, and the ways the district can address them. The Seattle area is home to an estimated 40,000 Muslims, and while Seattle Public Schools doesn't track religious affiliation among its students, officials believe the number of Muslims is growing."