Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The school in San Diego, Carver Elementary, that has gotten so much controversy for trying to accommodate the religious practices of a group of 100 Muslim students that were dumped on them just before the start of the school year, has made some changes in its policies. Apparently, my understanding of the situation was wrong. I thought they had only moved a recess period to coincide with a time for the Muslim kids to say their afternoon prayer so that they could pray rather than take recess, but apparently that was not true.

According to the article linked above, they had actually set aside 15 minutes during class time for the prayers. In addition, they had also established some single gender classes because of the Muslim belief that boys and girls should be educated separately. I would say that both of those are unreasonable accommodations that should not have been done; the school has now changed them.

A San Diego school that drew international attention for setting aside time for Muslim students to pray in the classroom will no longer do so.

Instead, Carver Elementary’s schedule will be reconfigured so students can say their required midday prayers during lunch. Courts have long upheld students’ rights to pray on their own during lunch or recess.

Another controversial element of Carver’s educational program geared toward Muslim students – single-gender classes – will be eliminated.

I think it’s unreasonable to interrupt class time for any religious exercise. If the students want to give up a portion of their lunch period to do so, that’s perfectly fine. For the school to arrange things to make that possible is also perfectly fine. Single-gender classes created to soothe the beliefs of Muslims is no more acceptable than demanding that girls not be educated at all, as some radical Muslims believe. The school is doing the right thing by scrapping that policy and their new policies, I think, are constitutional and reasonable.