Halal Consumer - Issue 26 - page 20

When our children were younger, we lived
in a school district with very few Muslim
students. The students, teachers, and
school administrators had limited expo-
sure to Muslims and the Islamic culture
and practices. In order to avoid any awk-
ward situations, we thought it prudent
to share some information on Eid and
Ramadan and to let them know our chil-
dren would be absent during Eid.
Today, many more teachers and adminis-
trators are familiar with Islam, and there
are more Muslim students attending
public schools. But, there is still a lot of
misinformation out there, so it may not
be a bad idea to start the school year
sharing some basic information on Islam
with your child’s teachers and school
administrators. Some information you
might want to share is a basic introduc-
tion to Islam; information on Ramadan
and the two Eids; dietary needs; the
requirement to pray five times a day and
the need to pray during school hours;
dressing for gym class and the hijab and
why it is worn. You can find excellent
information on the basics of Islamic
Beliefs, Ramadan, Eid, and Hajj on the
IFANCA website (
).
The benefit of providing this information
early is to avoid any embarrassing situ-
ations like a field trip involving a stop at
a fast food restaurant where your child
can’t find anything to eat; having to find
a secluded place to pray and being late
to class because he or she is praying; or
being taunted during Ramadan because
he or she cannot eat or drink. You never
know, it may also help other Muslims. I
recall one year my son spoke to his high
school counselor about the need to find
a place to offer Dhuhr salat. She let him
use her office and, after another Muslim
student found out, he began joining my
son for salat. They ended up becoming
very good friends.
Our experience is that teachers and
administrators have been very accom-
modating once they are made aware of,
and understand, the needs of our chil-
dren. It makes the school environment
more pleasant for both, the student
and the teacher. You also want to take
every opportunity to thank teachers and
administrators when they do accommo-
date your children’s needs.
School should be a fun, comfortable
place. Eliminating an unnecessary
source of anxiety helps keep it that
way. Being a Muslim student in public
school should not be stressful for a child.
Providing some information on Islam at
the beginning of the school year will keep
it from becoming a place of unease.
A letter is a great way to inform your
child’s teachers and administrators of
your circumstances. A sample letter is
provided below. You can compose your
own letter to meet your needs.
PARENTAL
TIPS
By Roger Othman
HALAL CONSUMER
|
Fall 2013
18
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