A legal team has dispatched a cease-and-desist letter to a school district in Washington state that promoted Islam through a Ramadan policy that provides special privileges for Muslim students.
It’s the second district in the state found to have the special policy in just the last week.
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund confirmed it has written to Michelle Reid, superintendent of the Northshore School District in Bothell, Washington, to insist that the policy be revoked.
The policy directs teachers to create “safe spaces” for Muslims, plan with Muslim students to let them “quietly slip away” from class for prayer, “privately offer information” about nutrition during their Ramadan fast, give “a lesson” on Ramadan and privately ask Muslim students what accommodations they want.
FCDF warned that if the district does not revoke the policy and begin compliance with the First Amendment, “then parents and students will have a legal cause of action against you and the school district.”
While students are allowed to practice their religion, the team said, and “nothing in the Constitution prohibits public schools from accommodating students’ religious exercise,” public schools are not allowed to have policies or practices that “convey a message that a particular religion, or a particular religious belief, is ‘favored.’
“Administrators and teachers must never be placed in the position of monitoring a child’s compliance with a particular religious requirement, such as prayer, dietary restrictions, or wearing a head covering,” the letter said.
The First Amendment requires, in those circumstances, neutrality on religion, the letter said.
FCDF said the district must “restore the rights of non-Muslim students of faith to be treated equally under the law” and review all instances in which the school’s Ramadan policy was enforced.
The letter followed “multiple complaints” to FCDF from members of the Bothell community as well as a teacher.
It was the district’s Diversity & Equity Department that recently issued the guidelines for Muslim students during Ramadan.
“The school district’s so-called Ramadan ‘accommodations’ run roughshod over the First Amendment and are a blatant insult to students of other faiths,” said Daniel Piedra, FCDF’s executive director. “Under the mantle of ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion,’ school officials have exalted Islam as the state-sponsored religion. Teachers and parents are outraged, and they should be.”
Just days earlier, FCDF sent a similar letter to the Dieringer School District in Lake Tapps, Washington, about the same issue.
The Ramadan policy had been recommended by the terror-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations.
After CAIR wrote to that school suggesting various changes in policy and practice that would benefit Muslim students, district Supt. Judy Martinson implemented CAIR’s suggestions as official district policy. She distributed the CAIR letter to school principals, who in turn circulated it to all teachers and staff, FCDF said.
The guidelines included having teachers greet students in Arabic for their Ramadan holiday.