(SEATTLE, WA 3/12/19) –  The Council on American-Islamic Relations – Washington (CAIR-WA), is calling on the Seattle School District and Thurgood Marshall Elementary to respond to offensive remarks regarding Ramadan.

The remarks were made via an email from the Thurgood Marshall Principal to parents. In the email, which announced this year’s schedule state testing, the district acknowledged that some of the testing would occur over Ramadan. It went on to suggest that parents of Muslim children should allow children to eat on testing days and ensure that children get “sufficient sleep” the night before testing days.

The email specifically stated:

“Please consider the following:

  • Allow your child to eat, or participate in partial day fasting, on testing days.
  • Ensure your child is getting sufficient sleep the night before testing days.
  • Make sure your child is eating prior coming to school to provide enough energy for the day.”

Ramadan lasts a month, is often observed through fasting during daylight hours, which often means late nights for observant families. Ramadan is one of the most important holidays in the Muslim calendar. It is inappropriate for a school to suggest how children should celebrate a holiday.

“This is a consistent issue with the Seattle Public School System,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Masih Fouladi who cited the school district’s decision to start school on the first day of Rosh Hashanah , a Jewish High Holiday, this year. “If they are committed to making education equally accessible to all then they need to be committed to honoring diverse religious practices in the community.”

Fouladi continued:

“We are asking that the District and Thurgood Marshall Elementary retract their earlier statement and issue an apology and have a conversation about adequate testing accommodations for students observing Ramadan this year. We encourage them to work with us on ensuring they respect and honor the religious practices of all of their students.”

CAIR-WA has prioritized religious accommodations in schools by supporting a Senate Bill ensuring religious accommodations for postsecondary students, sending out letters to schools throughout the state informing them of Muslim holidays and practices, and offering training and consultation to schools looking to increase their sensitivity and knowledge of Islam.

Media Contact:
CAIR-WA Media and Outreach Director, Sarah Stuteville sstuteville@cair.com 206-403-3931

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.  

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.