Where do we draw the line?

Your seventh grade student comes home from school and tells you that, as part of a school “history” assignment, his name is no longer “Eric” — he’s now to be known as “Ahmed” for the next three weeks.

Furthermore, your son tells you, he has to recite Muslim prayers in his history class, and learn a passage from the Quran. Oh, and on the tenth day of this assignment, he’ll be giving up television for 24 hours so that he can experience fasting. At the end of the three weeks, he’ll be writing a critique of various elements of the Muslim culture.

Would you call such an assignment “educational?” Would you say that the children had engaged in religious exercises or would you just call the assignment “instructional?”

It happened in the Byron Union School district in eastern Contra Costa Country. Parents and students complained that the activities crossed the line between education into an actual religious exercise. The parents and students contended that the school district engaged in unconstitutional religious indoctrination when it made the students recite language from Muslim prayers.

A federal judge and the appeals court disagreed. And on Monday of this week, the US Supreme Court rejected the parents’ appeal without comment. The case is Eklund vs. Byron Union School District, 05-1539.

Imagine the screaming if the school had spent the next three weeks “introducing” the students to Judaism in the same way? After that, they could do three weeks of Buddhism, then three weeks of Shintoism … Hinduism … Confucianism …

Appeal on school’s lesson in Muslim culture is rejected.

Kate blogs at The Original Musings.

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