Religious accommodations in schools are a must

Following a late March protest in the Peel District School Board meeting, a statement appealed to permit Muslim students to pray on Fridays.



The policy statement from the Ontario Human Rights Commission was greatly appreciated by the Peel School Board. The commission stated that, “Education providers are responsible for accommodating creed-related needs to the point of undue hardship.”

This was a relief to hear for the Peel spokesperson after recent demands for bans on in-school Muslim Friday prayers. The statement acknowledged the fact that religious and creed practices often take communal forms, and proposed that education providers may consider offering spaces to observe these forms of worship.

A number of schools in Peel do provide spaces for prayers, however there have been critics claiming that the practice promotes segregation and deemed an inappropriate source of exposure to religion in a secular school system. Tensions arose in the board meeting, in which police had to intervene, after 80 protesters began yelling Islamophobic comments, and one person ripped up and stomped on a copy of the Qur’an.

As a catholic community at St. Robert, the importance of religious faith has been emphasized through religion classes and the space of the chapel, a sacred place open and welcome to all students.

It is a hope to see more respect entitled to the Muslim and wider community. It is important to recognize and take action for the improvement of welcoming and respecting different religious practices at school.