The Columbus Board of Education last night passed a policy governing
religion in the schools that creates rules for an increasingly diverse
Under the policy, the district will try to meet the dietary needs of
students whose religion restricts what they eat, prohibit organized prayer
in the classroom during school hours and permit religious organizations to
use buildings during nonschool hours.
In a last-minute amendment, the board added a provision allowing students
to wear “loose-fitting, nonrevealing clothing as required by established
religious practice,” including head coverings, at all times, “even during
The district may require a written explanation for such dress from a
religious leader, parent or guardian.
The board also added a provision allowing students who are fasting to
request to be seated apart from students who are eating meals.
But the district will not require schools to operate “a special-diet
kitchen.” Instead, schools must “endeavor to offer an alternative entree.”
Board vice president Karen Schwarzwalder said the changes were largely the
result of input from religious groups.
Jad Humeidan, executive director of the Council on American Islamic
Relations in Columbus, said he was pleased with the policy, which had been
in the works about a year.
“We thought it was something that was definitely needed in Columbus Public
Schools,” he said”¦