The Northshore School District has withdrawn its Ramadan policy in response to a “cease and desist” letter filed by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF). Two weeks ago, several parents and an anonymous teacher contacted FCDF about the district’s special protections for Muslim students during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. FCDF’s executive director Daniel Piedra then sent a letter to Northshore’s superintendent, Dr. Michelle Reid, warning her the district’s favoritism toward Muslim students is unconstitutional.

“Northshore’s decision to roll back its Ramadan policy is a victory for the First Amendment,” said Daniel Piedra, FCDF’s executive director. “We applaud the courageous parents and teacher who took a stand to remind Northshore it is a public school district, not an Islamic madrasa.”

At issue are district guidelines issued in a memo to teachers and staff on how to nurture Muslim students during Ramadan. After “considering the perspective and concerns noted in [FCDF’s] letter,” the district rescinded the following directives:

  • “When planning school activities and events, think about how it will impact practicing Muslim students” by asking “Will they feel left out?” and “Will they feel pressured to break their fast before sunset or Iftar (breaking of fast)?”;
  • Create special “safe spaces” for Muslim students;
  • Plan with Muslim students to allow them to “quietly slip away” for prayer to “avoid calling unwanted attention to them”;
  • “Privately offer information about nutritional adaptations” while Muslim students fast;
  • During class, give “[a] brief mention of Ramadan or a lesson on it [to] promote the feeling of inclusivity” because “[m]any Muslim students may feel embarrassed to be specially accommodated”;
  • “[P]rivately ask[] Muslim students if they would like accommodations”; and
  • “If you are aware of practicing Muslim students in your school and are still unsure about how to support them during Ramadan, don’t hesitate to ask them privately what they need.”

In an updated memo, Northshore suggests a neutralized “comfortable space for fasting students,” but informs teachers “it’s [] up to the student whether they choose to go there or not.” The policy also suggests that physical education teachers may accommodate fasting students to avoid strenuous activities. Both suggestions are likely reasonable under the First Amendment to the extent they would not impose undue hardship on school operations.

In a letter Reid sent last Friday to FCDF announcing the policy change, the district denied the Ramadan guidelines violated the First Amendment.

“Muslim students no doubt have a right to receive appropriate religious accommodations,” said Piedra. “But Northshore’s plan went above and beyond mere ‘accommodations’; it exalted Islam as the privileged religion in the school district. It is unfortunate it took a threat to sue for district officials to come to their senses.”

FCDF will continue to monitor the district’s actions to ensure it complies with the Constitution. It is also awaiting the production of documents from a public record request made two weeks ago. According to district officials, the records will be produced by June 21st.

  1. May 21, 2019

    Thank you for protecting the increasingly precious U.S. Constitution.

  2. May 21, 2019

    You’re welcome!

  3. May 22, 2019

    Thank you from a Northshore teacher.

  4. May 28, 2019

    This what we get when our USELESS politicians ignore two of our Founding Fathers and former presidents 233-years ago.

    FOLKS: America, we need to read our history with Shariah/Islamic law and their desire to form a global Caliphate, an Ummah ruled by Shariah law.

    Our USELESS politicians have been kicking the Shariah/Islamic law can down the road for quite a while now and it is up to the voters to force them to hold hearings on this issue before, we are destroyed! However, I seriously doubt if we have enough voters with the guts to demand hearings on Shariah/Islamic law! Of course, our USELESS mainstream media (MSM) will not report on it including FOX NEWS! I wonder if the new Fox Nation will do it?

    Who said this, to whom, when, why and what have we ever done about it? Would you consider this statement to be contrary to our Constitution, our way of life, a danger to our National/Homeland Security and the preservation of our Constitution? Would you think these are words of an enemy? Surely, both the House and the Senate studied this but where are the reports?
    “The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every musselman [muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-09-02-0315

    This statement was a part of a March 28, 1786, letter from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, the United States Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Continental Congress, concerning their conversation with Tripoli’s to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman as to why his pirates/terrorists hijacked our merchant ships, stole the ships and cargo while holding the sailors for ransom.

    If you are afraid to go directly to the weblink just Google March 28, 1786, the letter from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to John Jay.

  5. May 28, 2019

    I am Sufi Muslim, and a secularist. CAIR is poison to practitioners such as I, as they represent the hyper-orthodox which increasingly view my sort as heretics with legitimate bullseyes on us.

    While I believe there ought to be reasonable accommodation and some flex for faith practices, this thing was too much.

    I mean, seriously, what coddling — “Do you you need or want anything, honey?”

    If the hyper-orthodox Wahbabists, etc. were in charge, I promise you that your children would be lucky if they were to be treated as 2nd Class citizens.

    It always gives me the warm and fuzzies when the stratagems of the fundies get drop kicked in the groin.

  6. May 30, 2019

    Thanks, Frank.
    Well written post.
    But….the MSM would likely report on (a long overdue national discussion about Islam’s teachings): eagerly and hysterically.
    The author of the recent book (Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History), knowing full well of the Ambassador’s ‘Koran’ statement still refers to ‘radical Islam’.

  7. May 31, 2019

    Thanks for your steadfast dedication to objective truth. I work in an environment that forces you to accept their Saul Alinsky playbook, and yet says it’s all about inclusion and diversity. The hypocrisy is stifling. If you’re a Christian you’re ostracized and pay a heavy price.

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