Opinion: Prayer rooms should be provided at Hebron


Illustrated by Eyesha Sadiq

The Quran, prayer beads, a hijab and prayer mat are used when Muslims pray their mandatory prayers. Having a prayer room for all faiths would allow students to express their religious beliefs.

12:30 p.m.

My phone buzzes with a notification: It’s time for prayer. I sit in class and think: where can I pray? The answer: nowhere. I miss prayer every day while in school.

As a Muslim, I must pray five times a day. One of the five prayers is during school. I always feel not having a provided space for prayer takes away my rights to express my beliefs. The school has gyms for physical activity and libraries for studying, but why isn’t religion a priority?

In Islam, missing prayer is one of the worst things you can do. Praying is one of the five pillars and it needs to be done by each individual. This may not be something that other students or staff think of frequently – if they are not Muslim, it may not affect them as much. 

But it affects me. 

Hebron is a diverse school — we have a large number of students of all faiths who pray throughout the day, and some of these prayers are mandatory. 

In the state of Texas, students are allowed to leave school for religious reasons. Some of my friends leave school and come back an hour later simply because they need to pray and there is not a designated space on campus to do so. Then, they must attempt to catch up on everything they missed in their classes while they were gone. Students should not have to leave campus to express their religious beliefs – they should be able to worship while present on campus. 

A solution for this dilemma would be to implement a prayer room in the school that would allow students of all faiths to pray during lunch and advisory. Students should be allowed to express their religious freedom without having a constant worry of whether or not they can pray on time. 

It is something that can be and has been done. Liberty High School in Frisco has a prayer room for all faiths where students are allowed to go during their off period and lunch to pray. The U.S. Department of Education allows students to practice religious activities when they are not doing school activities. 

According to Psychology Today, in a study of 2,000 adults with mental health illness, more than 70% said praying helped their mental health. In addition, 45% of students say they feel anxious and stressed during the school day, and allowing students to go to a prayer room to pray can lower their anxiety levels, as well as creating a safe coping method .

I understand that some people may fear that the school will reject the separation of church and state if they implement the prayer room. However, students will utilize the prayer room voluntarily, not by force. If a school does not force students to pray, then that school is still following the separation of church and state.

Hebron needs a prayer room for students to be able to express their beliefs. The student body’s needs should be the school’s No.1 priority, and that expectation is not being met until a prayer room is implemented.