The approach of the “winter holidays” gives schools a chance to show respect for the religions of students, or not. The president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights found that public education’s guardians are at least making some strides in this direction.—ed.
Catholic League president William Donohue lists what some public schools recently did to accommodate Muslim students during Ramadan:
• Muslim students at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord, California were allowed to use an available room to pray.
• Tahali Community School in St. Cloud, Florida provided a quiet space for students to pray in the afternoon.
• After protests, Muslim students at Brooklyn International High School were allowed to miss class for four Fridays during Ramadan to attend mosque services.
• After protests, Muslim students with notes from their parents at Bancroft Intermediate School in Wilmington, Delaware were excused from sitting in the cafeteria at lunchtime during Ramadan.
• In Herndon, Virginia, “multicultural trainer” Afeeda Syeed was allowed to bring children from a Muslim school to public schools to teach the students about Ramadan.
• At Salem High School in New Hampshire, the Muslim Students Association held a Ramadan “Fast-A-Thon” wherein they received contributions from classmates and teachers (proceeds went to a local soup kitchen). In a show of support, the teachers skipped lunch as well. In addition, the group held a fast-breaking feast at the public school that day at 4:30 p.m.
• At Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy is a publicly funded charter school in Minnesota. During Ramadan, all of the students (including non-Muslims) followed the traditional Muslim fast.
• Gwinnett school officials in Georgia decided to excuse Muslim students from the final class period every school day; one of the make-up options is for students to take a religious studies class off-campus.
• At North Atlanta High, students held prayer services in a Muslim teacher’s classroom.
The degree of tolerance that these public schools have shown for Muslim students during Ramadan is encouraging. Maybe now we can get the schools to stop with this “Winter Holiday” nonsense and get down to celebrating Christmas with a concert that features a nativity scene and the singing of “Silent Night.”