Four students knelt on a classroom floor during lunch at the Albert Payson Terhune Elementary School today and performed the afternoon Muslim prayer ritual.
It was the first time the students had prayed in the school during school hours. And it may end a controversy over what arrangement the district should make to ensure the children's constitutionally protected right to exercise their religion during school hours.
School parent Rola Awwad has been seeking a private place for her 10-year-old son, Adam, to pray in school since the fall. The district offered to let him pray at recess — either outside or in classroom while his classmates are there. At first, Awwad called the offer "unacceptable," and the situation attracted attention from Muslim advocates who suggested bringing the issue to the state for resolution.
But Adam decided on his own to pray at lunch, Awwad said. He joined three friends today in a classroom with other students present. They performed the ritual in the back of a room.