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Field trip to Boston mosque stirs controversy

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The video of students from Wellesley seen praying at a mosque in Boston during a field trip in May. (WBZ-TV)

The video of students from Wellesley seen praying at a mosque in Boston during a field trip in May. (WBZ-TV)

The superintendent of schools in Wellesley is apologizing to parents of a sixth grade social studies class who were videotaped taking part in a prayer service at the Islamic Society of Boston’s mosque.

The field trip was back in May, but the issue didn’t get much attention until a group, which has been critical of the mosque, posted a video of the visit on its website. A mother who was chaperoning took the video and she gave it to the group.

During the visit, a representative of the mosque told the group they were welcome to participate in a prayer service that was going on. However, permission slips the parents had signed did not specify that level of participation by the children.

Wellesley School Superintendent Bella Wong says she got calls from parents asking about the video.

“It was not the intent for students to be able to participate in any of the religious practices,” she writes in a letter to parents four months after the field trip. I extend my sincere apologies for the error that occurred.”

Some parents don’t see what the big deal is since the class was studying all religions.

Students also visited a synagogue, attended a gospel concert, and met with representatives of the Hindu religion.

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