Muslim parents, Willmar schools reach agreement on prayer time


by Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio
September 16, 2008

St. Paul, Minn. — A few Somali parents in Willmar complained that the public schools weren’t allowing their Muslim children to step out of class for daily prayer. Some didn’t send their children to school last week in protest.

Today, school officials said they won’t change their policy, which allows students to pray during lunch time and between classes. For now, families have reluctantly agreed to send their children to school, but the issue may resurface later in the school year.

This is the first school year Somali parents have had an issue with Willmar public schools over when their children can pray. A few children informed their parents that they weren’t allowed to step out of class to pray for five minutes.

Today, Willmar public school officials met with a Somali parent to listen to parents’ concerns over prayer time. School officials say they’re sticking to their original policy.

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