San Diego elementary school allows Muslim students time for prayer

These things are surfacing more and more in many places where large communities of Muslims are coming in and trying to say this is our right. – Teacher

By HELEN GAO
Union-Tribune 

July 2, 2007 – TheScroogeReport.com Post

A San Diego public school has become part of a national debate over religion in schools ever since a substitute teacher publicly condemned an Arabic language program that gives Muslim students time for prayer during school hours.

Carver Elementary in Oak Park added Arabic to its curriculum in September when it suddenly absorbed more than 100 students from a defunct charter school that had served mostly Somali Muslims.

After subbing at Carver, the teacher claimed that religious indoctrination was taking place and said that a school aide had led Muslim students in prayer.

OVERVIEW

Background: The U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines say students can pray at public schools during school hours by themselves or with fellow students. However, Šteachers and other public school officials may not lead their classes in prayer, devotional readings from the Bible or other religious activities.

What’s happening: A substitute teacher claimed that Carver Elementary School in San Diego was indoctrinating students into Islam, and that a teacher’s aide led Muslim children in prayer. An investigation failed to substantiate the claims, but the allegations have thrust Carver into a nationwide debate over prayer in schools.

The future: Carver, which has set aside a 15-minute break to allow time for students to pray, is considering alternative prayer accommodations. Religious and civil rights groups are monitoring developments.

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