Bellevue is a beautifully rich and culturally diverse community. In BSD, we have many students, families, staff, and community partners of many different backgrounds and cultures who participate in the spiritual month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is an annual celebration practiced by Muslims around the world.
Ramadan, in the Islamic tradition, begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon and marks the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and the holy month of fasting. This year, Ramadan begins on Wednesday, March 22, and concludes at sundown on Friday, April 21.
People of the Muslim faith observe this spiritual month with fasting, prayer and introspection. The obligation to refrain from eating or drinking from dawn to dusk during the time of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of the religion of Islam.
In some communities, drums or bells ring in the predawn hour to remind others to take part in the meal before dawn, suhur. After sunset prayers, fasting is broken with a meal shared among families and friends called iftar. In Muslim-majority countries, work hours are often adjusted during the month of Ramadan to accommodate acts of worship.
The end of Ramadan, one of the two major religious holidays of the Muslim calendar, is the Feast of Fast-breaking, Eid al-Fitr. During this celebration, new clothes are worn, special sweets are baked, gifts are exchanged, and families and friends gather to pray and share meals.
Supporting Students During Ramadan
The Bellevue School District seeks to affirm individuals of all faith backgrounds and conveys Ramadan Mubarak to all of our students, families, and community members who are observing Ramadan.
School staff are encouraged to partner with students and families to determine supportive accommodations for students. Options to consider are listed below:
Prayer is important for Muslims all year round, especially during Ramadan. School staff can support students by providing spaces for them to go during eating times and prayer.
Fajr, the sunrise prayer, is currently around 5:30 a.m., and it is traditional for families to wake before dawn to have a meal before fasting. School staff can provide flexibility with assignment deadlines and tests in all classes. For example, staff could consider providing options during physical education classes and extending deadlines.
Remember that just because a student is Muslim does not mean that they will be fasting. Staff should not assume that a student is fasting or ask them why they aren’t fasting.
Resources for Further Understanding and Ideas
- CAIR Washington Educator Guide
- Teaching About Ramadan and Eid
- Watch a student’s celebration of Ramadan with family
- PBS Resources for Understanding Islam
- Prayer times in Seattle
Please be aware that if a situation arises that involves allegations of any religious animus, it is not only subject to Policy 3207 and Procedure 3207P (HIB). It must be handled under Policy 3210 and Procedure 3210P (Nondiscrimination), at the direction of the Superintendent. Staff or families who have questions related to either of these policies and procedures may contact BSD’s Civil Rights/Nondiscrimination Compliance Coordinator, Nancy Pham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an important reminder of BSD’s commitment to honor the religious freedoms of all BSD students and staff and to protect them from discrimination, harassment and violence based on religious beliefs.
During Ramadan, there is an increase in reported incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes, and as a school district we recognize that we must provide support and accommodations for our Muslim community members during Ramadan.
We appreciate our learning community’s commitment to ensuring that all students are valued, seen and heard. Ramadan Mubarak to all our community members observing Ramadan.
View BSD’s Cultural Calendar to learn about other observances honored in our learning community, including a variety of other spring celebrations.