There are many ways to support Muslims students and families in Washington’s schools. If you’re a teacher or school administrator, you can take action in your schools and classrooms. If you are a fellow student, parent, or community member, you can show support and encourage your local school’s administration to adopt further equitable policies and practices.

  1. Accommodate daily prayer year-round. One or two daily prayer times will typically occur during school hours, depending on the time of year. It usually takes less than 15 minutes to accomplish the religious requirements of the prayer. Washington law permits those students or faculty who wish to participate in voluntary prayer to do so.
  2. Provide clean, quiet, and appropriate places to pray on campus.
  3. Add major Islamic holidays such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr, and Eid Al-Adha to your school’s calendar.
  4. Inform and/or remind students and families that excused absences are allowed under federal law for religious holidays.
  5. Provide modifications to any uniform requirements or “no-hat” policies that allow accommodation for religiously mandated dress, including head scarves.
  6. Teachers should prevent classmates from pulling on or removing a Muslim student’s scarf. Such an action is a serious act of bullying and harassment that must be addressed by school staff and administration under Washington law.
  7. In school cafeterias and at school-related functions with food, provide options that don’t include pork or pork by-products, such as vegetarian options. In cafeterias, mark any items including pork with a red dot or a picture of a pig.
  8. In Physical Education classes that require specific clothing, modest options should be available, such as long-sleeved tops and full-length pants.
  9. Be sensitive to gender relations and modesty issues that may arise in a mixed-gender exercise environment, particularly for students who have reached the age of puberty. Provide students with alternate activities if they cannot participate.
  10. Avoid touching when comforting students of the opposite gender (after they have reached or are around the age of puberty), and when interacting with parents of the opposite gender. Respect students’ boundaries and allow them to choose whether they wish to hug or hold hands with classmates of different genders.
  11. Allow parents reasonable time to review any material dealing with sex education. Allow children to opt-out from all or part of the family life program.
  12. Check textbooks and curricula for religious bias.
  13. Invite Muslim speakers to social studies and world religion classes.
  14. Encourage class discussion that embraces diversity, tolerance, and an inclusive classroom environment. Avoid using language of collective blame or tropes rooted in bias when discussing themes like terrorism, global conflict or the 9/11 attacks.

During Ramadan

  1. Send greetings! A common greeting is “Ramadan Kareem” or “Ramadan Mubarak,” which is an Arabic greeting meaning, “May you have a blessed Ramadan.” Let your classmates or students know that you recognize the significance of this time.
  2. Due to the long days experienced by Muslim students during this time, we recommend making assignments for everyone due at 11:59 pm or even later especially for older students.
  3. Teachers can accommodate Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha by not scheduling tests or important assignments on those days. If tests or assignments are scheduled on these days, we ask that teachers allow students to complete them before or after the student’s excused holiday absence.
  4. Be mindful that some Muslim students might fast while others might not, depending on their age, faith-involvement, or health considerations.
  5. Allow students to study in the library or elsewhere during lunch.
  6. Monitor students for overheating or dehydration, especially in excessively hot weather.