Sound Off

Sound Off: Does Unified School District 497 make accommodations for Muslim students to pray during school hours? If so, are any employees of the district paid to oversee these prayer meetings?

“Yes, our typical practice is to provide release time for parents to pick up their students from school for prayer time. In some cases, however, schools may make other accommodations if release time is not possible,” said David Cunningham, the district’s director of legal services, human resources and policy. “School staff do not directly supervise student prayers, but children are not left unattended while at school.”


somebodynew 6 years, 2 months ago

Well, I will start it. Does the same policy apply for eveyone else who may wish time to pray to their God, or whoever they call their spiritual leader ???? Is so, fine. If not, why not ???

ivalueamerica 6 years, 2 months ago

The question is not really relevant.

There are few other religions in the world, and none of the mainstream religions that require prayers in a fashion where you need floor space and at certain times of the day.

There is no religious need for Christians, Catholics, Jewish People generally to pray at a certain time of the day, There is in the Muslim faith.

apples to oranges. Please, try to keep it relevant.

50YearResident 6 years, 2 months ago

What do Muslims do to require prayer 6 times each day?

Abdu Omar 6 years, 2 months ago

It is 5 times a day! Please don't make it more than it is.

JustNoticed 6 years, 2 months ago

They subscribes to the tenets of Islam. They don't "do" anything that requires it except be Muslims.

kugrad 6 years, 2 months ago

As a born and raised Christian who went to parochial school I call baloney. Yes, kids pray before they eat and at lunch. There is no tradition of prayer at specific times of day. Don't make things up. Obviously, daily prayer in Muslim life is quite different than In Christian life. There is no requirement in Christian prayer about how the body should be arranged. People pray all the time in school, generally in their heads.

Jeff Barclay 6 years, 2 months ago

Is there a rational, reasonable way for us to discuss this? Can we ask someone to clarify and explain the thinking behind this policy?

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

The question comes from a bigot. A Muslim would already know the answer. What makes it bigoted is the inquiry whether any school resources are used to ensure free exercise of religion, which is constitutionally protected.

Only in Kansas.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 2 months ago

the reality is the racist right (subsection of the right, not all right are racist) will always justify their bigotry and dismiss anyone who calls them out on it using the faux news soundbite CARD..bigot card, race card.

Bigotry and racism exists.

meggers 6 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if it's the same questioner who alleged their daughter is being exposed to anti-republican and anti-catholic views at school. I'm guessing the contraceptive/religious freedom issue was what was being discussed in the classroom. This question could be an extension of that. I don't think they received the Gotcha! they were looking for, though.

Maybe they'll get tired of 'sounding off' and just pony up the money for private school.

Lawrenceks 6 years, 2 months ago

Let me ask you this Thesychophant, do you think they would accommodate a Christian over in the Middle East???

I could care less where they pray at as long as it doesn’t cost the tax payers any money by having to accommodate their religious beliefs!

GardenMomma 6 years, 2 months ago

Does it matter if they accomodate a Christian over in the Middle East? Are we in the Middle East or the United States of America? Don't we have our own way to govern our country? Isn't the freedom to practice religion constitutional?

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

Exactly. Why do would anyone want to do it the way they do things? Sad reasoning.

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

Your question is irrelevant. It is absolutely absurd to juxtapose the greatest and most democratic country in the world with a backward part of the world which still lives in the Middle Ages.

Let me ask you this, Lawrencks. Are countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran the standard by which Americans should judge ourselves. I think not. I hope not. .

Armstrong 6 years, 2 months ago

Lawrenceks (anonymous) says… Let me ask you this Thesychophant, do you think they would accommodate a Christian over in the Middle East???

You realize this is Lawrence right, do you think they would accommodate a Christian in Lawrence ???

parrothead8 6 years, 2 months ago

A privately-owned, privately-funded educational system would not be nearly as objective as a public school system. If you'd like corporations to fund our educational system, then you'll have to live with corporations deciding what our children learn.

The market, which destroyed our economy and pissed away the nest eggs of millions of Americans, hasn't been as harmonious as you make it out to be. When it's finished dragging most of us through the slop, the government is left to take the blame and pick up the pieces.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

Norway is considered to have the most successful school system in the world, and it is completely public. No private schools are allowed. Each school is equal in funding and quality of teachers. I do not think a free market would benefit the majority of students. It would benefit the wealthy, just like the free market does now.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

What proof do you have that the free market benefits the poor? The countless jobs available to get the poor out of poverty (sarcasm)? Free markets are controlled by the wealthy, and the decisions they make are to benefit themselves first and foremost.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago I was mistaken; it is Finland that has one of the top school systems in the country. This article states how private schools do not equal better education.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

Capitalism benefits those in power and control. Maybe Free Markets benefits the masses, but America's system has long ago been corrupted and no longer has the people's best interests at heart. The corporate executives only care about their pocket book.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

I see we agree on something; that the American economy is run by the well-connected. I guess you got me on the pocketbook statement; that is all I care about the majority of the time I am at work. Free markets are theoretically great. I just think there should be some regulations in place that prevent the abuse we now see in the market...or some type of solution to the way corporations control the government now.

Wes Ryan 6 years, 2 months ago

This is another indication of the double standard in our country. How many articles have you read recently about Christian groups that have been banned from using school grounds or assets for prayer on the basis of "separation"? Yet for Muslims, the "school will make accomodations", which indicates they can pray on school grounds.

USD 497 should be creating and enforcing a level playing field, allowing students to pray on school property, and during school hours regardless of faith, as long as it does not interefere with the primary reason for them being there: GETTING AN EDUCATION.

The difficulty is that following strict Muslim law, there are 6 prayer times a day, at least two of which are during school hours. Releasing a student for prayer to perform Salat, the formal Islamic prayer that can be offered in around ten minutes, may be reasonable for both times during school. However prayers can takes much longer during Ramadan. Another difficulty is you don't want students taking advantage of this accomodation to get out of class by claiming to be something they are not.

Even airports typically have prayer space for those wishing to use it. Maybe the schools could set aside a space for all religions to use. It might encourage healthy discussion and interaction between devout students of all faiths, and allow the students to still observe their convictions.

Bassetlover 6 years, 2 months ago

Soooooo true! The ban on anything even remotely Christian is applauded far and wide across our country today. But the hypocrisy in bending over backwards to accommodate anything remotely Muslim seems to be demanded nowadays. How quickly we have forgotten we are a Judeo-Christian society, not one that is rooted in Islam.

Jim Johnson 6 years, 2 months ago

You need to have a talk with Mr. Obama because in his mind we are not a Christian society. How someone can believe in a religion that promotes killing is beyond me. Burn their book and you must die but burn the Bible and you're looked up to and praised or apologized to by our President

Abdu Omar 6 years, 2 months ago

What is the difference, do you know, between Islam and Christianity or Judaism? They all believe in God the Creator, they follow His 10 Commandments and they all believe in the hereafter and last day. Islam, only prays to God and not Jesus, but Jews do the same. The moral attributes are identical even though sin is viewed differently. I want to know what you think is a "Judeo-Christian Society"?

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry Soldier, but you need to retake Religion 101. The Jews have 613 commandments, not just ten. And Jews do not believe in the afterlife or in heaven, at least not in the Christian sense. One of the ancient bibical words for death in the Old Testament literally translates as "darkness"--not in the sense of evil, but rather, a void.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, I stand corrected. But that brings up the question how Christians could be compared to Jews or have a Judeo-Christian society.

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

No problem.

Actually, the Judeo-Christian "tradition" is a myth consisting of a two thousand year history of Christians attacking and killing Jews. There is a fundamental difference between the two religions. Christianity took Judaism and basically stood it on its head.

in Jewish religious philosophy, the emphasis is on a Jew's relationship with his fellow Jews. Jews are also taught to respect Gentiles. God is secondary.

On the other hand Christianity emphasizes a "personal relationship" with God. Relationships with fellow human beings really don't matter much. As long as you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you will live eternally in heaven, regardless of how you treated your fellow human beings during your life on earth. As long as you accept Jesus, all is forgiven. Kind of like a free pass to be the meanest son of a bitch in the valley, as long as you believe.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

Anyone is allowed to pray on school grounds despite their religion, but Christians don't have to pray aloud or get on the floor to pray. There are Christian Athlete Student groups and other Christian groups who meet on school property. Once a year Christians pray at the flag pole, but they could pray at the flag pole anytime they wanted, except if it shut down school or was mandated attendance. The holidays from school are already geared towards Christian holidays. Other religions just have to work around that schedule. Jewish students are given an excused absence for Jewish holidays that don't fall on Christian holidays for example. No one is persecuting you, because other religions are accommodated. Take off the aluminum foil.

tomatogrower 6 years, 2 months ago

There are only 2 major Christian holidays celebrated by all Christians, Christmas and Easter. Easter is on a Sunday, but many schools are off on Good Friday. Ash Wed. is important to some Christians, not all, but if a student needs to be off on that day, they would due excused, just like a Muslim or a Jew on one of their holidays. School isn't in session during the 4th of July, unless you count college or summer school.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

Islam, just like Christianity, claims a direct lineage from Abraham. Of course, Islam comes from the lineage of Ishmael (Abraham's other son). Both religions are rooted in Judaism; they just took different directions after their similarities end.

Also, we are not a Judeo-Christian society. This would indicate that America is a Theocracy. The founding fathers, despite popular beliefs, were not Christian in the traditional sense. This country was founded for freedom of all religions (and from religion), not just the one most popular at this time. In fact, our constitution was created to protect the minority, which in this case, would be anyone that is not Christian.

I believe all religions should be allowed to exercise their beliefs outside of school whenever possible. If Christian students had a religious reason to be absent from school, they would allow that as well. No one is attacking Christianity here. Paranoid much?

dlkrm 6 years, 2 months ago

53 of the 55 men generally considered to be founding fathers were in fact "Christian in the traditional sense." They were what we would today call evangelical Christians. Beginning around 1920, the progressive movement began removing references to the Christian founders from textbooks. They were very open about this - no conspiracy theory here. As a result, the founders taught about today are the two founders who were not evangelicals - Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. The founder considered by other founders to be chief among them, Benjamin Rush, is not even mentioned in the vast majority of textbooks. He was a very outspoken Christian.

LadyJ 6 years, 2 months ago

I seem to remember someone at LHS denying a Native American an excused absence to attend a Native American ceremony she needed to attend.

juma 6 years, 2 months ago

And so it starts. Soon will be special meals, then headscarfs, then veils, then shariah law. Any naive person only needs to go live in a moslem country to see where this is headed. Why do you think Europe is starting to limit moslem BS. ? Because they let it get out of hand and now the moslems want total religious domination. This is what their prayer says 5x / day. There is ONLY ONE GOD AND HIS NAME IS ALLAH. Look at what is happening in Afghanistan now. Murder is justified to moslems. If all religions can get out of school then good; but treat all equally. By the way it is allowed in islam to make up prayers later.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 2 months ago

Juma, God tells mankind that if you kill someone it is as if you have killed all of mankind. Can you imagine the penalty for killing all of mankind? Muslims (Not moslems) want to be able to participate in their religion and none of it trespasses on anyone else's religion. They are told to pray 5 times and day and two of the prayers (noon prayer and afternoon) fall during school hours. I am sure Muslim kids prefer to do it quietly and without fanfare for fear of ridicule from fellow classmates. Murder is NEVER justified, not in Islam, Christianity or Judaism.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

+1. Juma says we're being naive, when he has no clue what he is speaking of when it comes to Islam.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

"Christian groups that have been banned from using school grounds or assets for prayer on the basis of "separation"? " ==== Not true and enlightened schools with leaders who understand the US Constitution do not do this. Christians can, do and are allowed to pray any time they want to...silently as their ESSENE teacher suggested. They can pray out loud in groups when they wish as well, in the hallways, in the lunchroom around the famous flagpole in the fall, etc. I long for the day the Pastafarians can sell sacred ravioli at the ball games.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 2 months ago

In other Muslim-related news: "Muslim judge dismisses case of Muslim man who assaulted man in 'Zombie Muhammed' costume"

Read more:

Mike Ford 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm the grown child of a preacher who retired after 37 years in the ministry. My parent took many groups of children to different places of worship to foster a concept of religious tolerence. Religion in the theological sense is being intellectually appreciative of other's beliefs and seeing the value of education through exposure. The bigotry issue arises here from those whose exposure has been limited to fear and listening to AM radio which in turn leads down the slippery slope of tying nationalism and religion together which I see as facism and seeking religious supremacy over another for the purpose of domination. The Spaniards and the priests did so with the pueblos in the 17th century cutting off body parts of holy men and destroying kivas. The pilgrims did so requiring the Wampanoag to cut their hair worship the bible and moving into praying towns in the Massachusetts colony to avoid being murdered by colonists as alleged heathens and savages. The Munsees converted to the Moravian faith giving up language to be murdered by militia in Ohio in 1782. The people these days denigrate and refuse to acknowledge any Native American faith that stands in the way of a road. Beyond that there will be those who take the actions of a small section of the Muslim faith and label everyone that way. The hate of the west that is always used to fan the flames shoe should be seen as a reaction to hundreds of years of British, French, Russian, and American meddling to get lands and eventually oil from that area without respect for people. The First Amendment allows for free practice of religion for everyone.....not the mindset of a facist mentality twisting the amendment to have the freedom to judge and eliminate other's beliefs and practices which is what I hear every Saturday I work on the 88.1, 92.3, and other stations advocating their Christian intolerant views of others. Let them worship and let others exist in what is supposedly a pluralistic society.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 2 months ago

I was more bothered a few months ago reading you can opt out of required shots due to religious reasons, and someone go the measles at Quail Run last May. Your putting other kids at risk.

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 2 months ago

My high school had a breakout of Whooping Cough my senior year. This is why parents should always make sure that your kids' vaccinations are up to date! I can't say much about exemption from vaccines for religious reasons (although it poses a major health risk), but if you don't think your kids need to be vaccinated just because that illness doesn't come up much anymore, you would be wrong. Most if not all states require vaccination records for a child to start Kindergarten, and KU requires that all students living on-campus must be vaccinated.

Gregory Newman 6 years, 2 months ago

This is the result when Jesus got kicked out in 1963? We have been sinking ever since? Pure chaos of ideologies and increased racism and a political election race of who will sit in the Mercy seat as the Pope in America at the White House. We're done as a choice steak?

Mike Ford 6 years, 2 months ago

jesus didn't get kicked out in 1963.....intolerence did.....and the intolerent have been whining every since.

hujiko 6 years, 2 months ago

You are a hopeless bunch indeed.

Are all muslims terrorists since a few muslims commit acts of terrorism?

Are all christians murderers since Scott Roeder murdered George Tiller? In a place of worship nonetheless.

Grow up.

Bassetlover 6 years, 2 months ago

No, not all Muslims are terrorists. BUT, 99% of all terrorists have been Muslim .

Steve Jacob 6 years, 2 months ago

timothy mcveigh, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Anders Behring Breivik...ect.

SeaFox 6 years, 2 months ago

I hear 99% of statistics are made up.

hujiko 6 years, 2 months ago

So it's not terrorism if our country invades another and occupies it with force, using methods of fear, intimidation, and violence to some desired end?

Try explaining that to all the mothers that have lost children to recent conflicts in the middle east. I dare you to not call it terrorism.

Mike Ford 6 years, 2 months ago

Liberal is only an epithet used by ignorant people as a putdown. Thanks for publically admitting I'm smarter than you by calling me a liberal.

FlintHawk 6 years, 2 months ago

tusch', where have you been all my life?! Your posts in this thread are terrific — on point, informative and informed. Thank you.

juma 6 years, 2 months ago

Hey, wounded soldier! Did you ever learn anything when in the moslem world??? It is an evil and sub-human religion. No question about it.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes, you are right. Praying to one God, valuing the other person a man cannot go to heaven until he wants for his fellow man what he wants for himself. Look at Islam. I will admit there are some whose actions belie the true meaning of Islam, but they are NOT the majority, nor are they even a small fraction of the 1.6 billion Muslims on this earth.

You cannot judge Islam or anyother religion, until you read its holy book, talk to its scholars and meet some of its people. I invite you to the Islamic Center in Lawrence and to meet the board of directors or sit in a prayer service. The worship of God is the only tenet of Islam, all others are second to that.

By the way, where is the moslem world? There is no such word as moslem that I know of. I assumed you meant Muslim.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 2 months ago

A convenient way to rationalize Muslim killing, lying, cheating, terrorizing is of course the old infidel belief.

An infidel is no better than a stray dog.

pagan_idolator 6 years, 2 months ago

Might I suggest the Great Rite in the lunchroom? Or perhaps a Drawing Down of the Moon in the gymnasium? Could be a hoot but we are not required to absolutely have to pray or perform spell work at a certain time. Once, my son and foster daughter decided they just had to take Yule off from school, being Wiccan and all ( a total surprise to me, they had never shown interest before). So my requirement was that each one had to write an essay, for me, on the origins, history and meanings of Yule and how it was celebrated. Needless to say, they went to school on Yule.

Lawrenceks 6 years, 2 months ago

Who's to say your religion or mine is correct or real?? Like Santa Claus, it's all make believe.

How many more wars will the religious cults fight before they figure this out?

Abdu Omar 6 years, 2 months ago

You want to believe in your way, and I want to believe in mine. You will not try to understand mine and I don't understand yours. I am free from your beliefs and you are free from mine. You have your faith and I have mine. What more is there? Go your way and I will go mine.

usnsnp 6 years, 2 months ago

I remember when I went to Catholic School from 1950-1954 what they were saying, If you were not Catholic you were going to hell, the Catholic religion was the only true religion, the Jews murdered Jesus, and if you married a non-Catholic you would go to hell. I guess that is what Jesus preached. By the way dont we celebrate a Christian holiday "Christmass".

Liberty275 6 years, 2 months ago

62 replies? Hopefully they are all saying they appreciate the state not trampling the first amendment rights of children in school.

juma 6 years, 2 months ago

what the book of islam says and what all the proponents of islam say it is does not matter. it is what the life on the street is that counts. every place that reads the great book of islam are violent and oppressive. it is amusing how many moslems live in the infidel countries because why?, Here they have religious freedom. At home they are told how to be a moslem; here they can dance around and do the moslem thing as they wish. the problem is moslems do not allow other religions to openly express themselves. go to saudia arabia and start a church. go to iran and try to be a bahai. this drivel that islam is peaceful and loving is just lies. if moslems are not violent then why do they all sit by quietly and let the likes of osama continue the violence? why are iraqis blowing up children? the list goes on and on. islam is flawed and the moslem world will be forever violent.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

It's Muslim; learn to spell. And the religion is called Islam. It is not any more violent then the Christian religion. Your god, according to your holy book the Bible, ordered the slaughter of thousands of "men, women, and children" because the town was full of "infidels." Sound familiar? The instances of violence in the Bible are vast. You are showing your bigoted ways.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

My vocabulary is just fine. I did not know, however, of the secondary spelling of Muslim. Thank you for that info. But that does not retract from my other statements.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

I think it is time for a 7 day a week school week and an end to all seasonal or religious holidays. Go tigers. The only cult that should have legal holidays is sports. March madness break, Super bowl as the beginning of the new calender year. and stick hockey summer festival.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 2 months ago

+1 Them kids ain't learning enough anyway. Schools should be open 6-7 am to 8-9 pm every day that's not a bank holiday and Saturday mornings too for enrichment and extra tutoring. Make the standards real; insist people actually demonstrate mastery of them and let people out with a diploma when they do. They will be between 12 and 25, but at least they should be 'competent.' Might even make the educators decide on what is really important. There are too many standards now and most who post here and who legislate couldn't master them all. === For example. STANDARD 1: SCIENCE AS INQUIRY Grades 8-12 SCIENCE AS INQUIRY – The student will develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry and develop an understanding of scientific inquiry. Benchmark 1: The student will demonstrate the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry. Grades 8-12 Indicators Additional Specificity The student… 1. actively engages in asking and evaluating research questions. 2. ▲ actively engages in investigations, including developing questions, gathering and analyzing data, and designing and conducting research 3. ▲ actively engages in using technological tools and mathematics in their own scientific investigations. 1. Well-formed research questions drive scientific inquiry. 2. The scientific investigations includes, when appropriate, a. formulating a testable hypothesis. b. identify and test variables (independent, dependent, and variables to be kept constant). c. using methods for gathering data that is observable, measurable, and replicable. d. analyzing and evaluating the results in order to clarify the questions and hypotheses, and to refine methods for further research. 3. a. using a variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, calculators, and computers as an integral component of scientific investigations. b. using common mathematical functions to analyze and describe data. c. uses statistical and graphing data analysis techniques. d. recognizes that the accuracy and precision of the data, and therefore the quality of the investigation, depends on the instruments used. a. using equipment properly and safely. ======== What if all elected bodies had to apply these standards to their proposed legislation and deliberations in chamber? Not seeing much of evidence of this in any state.

50YearResident 6 years, 2 months ago

Well, well, I see some Muslim posters are finally admitting that they are Muslim. Maybe we will learn something about the Religion of Islam. Before, the Muslims all pretended to be Christian in their posts.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

I only noticed one poster that I assume is Muslim. I don't think any Muslims would "pretend to be Christian," but if their comments sounded that way, it just shows the many similarities of the religions. Not that what they chose as their religion matters to me, though.

If I am anything, it would be FSM.

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