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School district stands by prayer policy

Associated Press

WILLMAR, Minn. — Willmar public school officials are sticking with their original policy on when to allow Somali students to pray.

Some Somali parents in Willmar had complained that the public schools weren’t allowing their Muslim children to step out of class for daily prayer. Some didn’t send their children to school last week in protest.

School officials met with a Somali parent to listen to the concerns but said they’re not changing their policy.

Willmar Junior High School Principal Mark Miley says at a meeting six years ago, Somali families agreed that their children could pray during lunch time and between periods. Miley says everyone at that meeting, including parents, agreed that stepping out during class to pray would be disruptive.

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Muslims observe prayer five times a day. This month, during Ramadan, the midday prayer falls during class, not lunch time.

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