Muslim parents in Philadelphia are raising issues with school rules during Ramadan, including at least one who pulled her daughter from a private Catholic school over its ban on head coverings.

“My child had so much joy leaving out of the house and they publicly humiliated her and made her feel like she was doing something wrong,” Letitia Williams, mother of a 12-year-old Muslim student at St. Francis de Sales, told WPVI.

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

Williams said the sixth-grader was ready to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, and practiced preparing her khimar the night before. But when she arrived at school the next day dressed in her full uniform, along with the head covering, she was faced with a dress code violation.

“I got a call from the main office. She said, ‘You have to pick me up, they said I can’t wear this,’” Williams said.

Williams told the news site the family converted to the Muslim faith after her daughters were enrolled in Catholic schools, and her older daughter hasn’t faced any issues with her khimar. The situation at St. Francis de Sales, she said, convinced her to move her younger daughter elsewhere.

“She’s not going back to that school,” Williams said. “I have since enrolled her in a new school.”

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia issued a statement to WPVI that notes all parents are required to sign off on the Catholic school’s handbook, signaling they intend to comply with rules involving dress and behavior expectations.

“They are clearly outlined in the school handbook, which is shared with all families at the beginning of the academic year,” the statement read. “At that time, parents are asked to acknowledge receipt and understanding of the contents along with their willingness to abide by these regulations.”

The archdiocese notes about 65% of the student population at Francis de Sales is non-Catholic, including several Muslim families.

The conflict and others in Philadelphia come as the Council on American Islamic Relations works to raise awareness about Ramadan, encouraging schools and workplaces to accommodate the daily prayers and fasting that comes with it, WPVI reports.

“We’re not eating, so if there’s a room or place where Muslim students can go that isn’t the cafeteria, that’s always nice,” Asiyah Jones, Youth Leadership & Advocacy Projects Coordinator with CAIR Philadelphia, told the news site.

Jones said CAIR promotes a toolkit to help businesses and schools to accommodate Muslims, who pray five times a day during Ramadan. The 2024 Ramadan Toolkit, according to CAIR, is intended as both a means to promote accommodations, as well as a vehicle for boosting the Palestinian perspective.

“Muslims are encountering unprecedented levels of discrimination. Utilize CAIR’s 2024 Ramadan Toolkit to assert your rights and enhance your worship during this sacred month. Now more than ever, it is crucial for American Muslims to advocate for our brothers and sisters in Palestine,” according to CAIR Government Affairs Department Coordinator Shafiquil Muhshna.

“As we engage in worship and reflection during Ramadan, we must also stand in solidarity with those experiencing oppression and injustice. By utilizing resources like CAIR’s toolkit and amplifying our voices, we can actively support efforts for peace and justice in Palestine.”

The recommended accommodations, however, have caused issues at the Mathematics, Civics, and Sciences Charter School in Spring Garden, where parent Tifphanie Lawton told WPVI school officials sent a notice about halting the prayers.

“We will not be permitting students to pray during school hours,” the letter read.

Veronica Joyner, the school’s founder, explained the situation to the news site.

“We had so much disruptions in previous years of the lessons, that we were not going to allow students to go through the hallways and pull other students out of the classroom,” she said.

Administrators worked with Muslim students to find a better way, Joyner said, coming to a compromise to allow prayer in the lunch room after it’s cleared of food.

“We’re not saying you can’t pray,” Joyner said. “We just (had) to figure out how we’re going to do it.”