The Islamic charter school in Minnesota that has gotten such controversy over the last few months has been ordered by the state to make some changes to their policies to avoid establishment clause violations. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:
Most of the school’s operations follow state charter school law and federal guidelines on prayer in schools, but the department found two areas of concern, said Morgan Brown, an assistant commissioner with the department.
School director Asad Zaman said he takes the state’s concerns seriously and will address them as soon as possible. He also took the report as vindication, saying: “I now have proof that this is not a religious school.”
Here are the two areas they are forcing the school to change:
But the report said the school may be violating the law by allowing voluntary Friday prayers that most students attend to take place on school grounds. Those 30-minute prayers take up so much time that they may be a burden to non-praying students, and could mean the school isn’t teaching students for as many hours a year as the state requires. Letting teachers participate, even though they don’t lead prayers, may give students the impression that the school endorses Islam.
The state also said it was concerned about the appearance created by the school’s bus schedule. The school does not provide busing for students immediately after classes, instead it waits until the end of after-school activities, which include a religious studies course run by the Muslim American Society that more than half the students take.
This school should be scrutinized closely to make sure it doesn’t blur those lines.