Accommodating Students Religious Needs

Lesson Duration

Author:  Adapted from Charles Haynes by the American Bar Association

Charles Haynes reflects on how Muslim students can meet their religious obligations while attending public schools in “Muslim Students’ Needs in Public Schools.” He considers whether the schools can accommodate students’ religious needs without violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment. This strategy offers students an opportunity to weigh the establishment clause against the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. They check their understanding about the role of public schools in religious expression and consider how or if schools can accommodate the religious needs of students. Found on page 41 of Update on Law-Related Education Vol. 22 No. 1.


  • Reflect on the historical back- ground of the impact of religious freedom on schools
  • Determine what role religious expression can play in public schools
  • Identify the challenges schools face in balancing the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment
  • Examine the religious obligations of Muslim students as a case study for accommodating various religious practices


Update on Law-Related Education is published by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Public Education. Update helps secondary teachers of civics, government, history, and law, as well as law-related education program developers, to educate students about the law and legal issues.