Last month, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding released a new study that said 42% of young Muslims had reported bullying in U.S. schools. Recently, the San Diego Unified School District administrators and teachers decided to combat the problem with a concrete plan — educate students about Islam and the Muslim community.
The plan includes students learning more about Islam in social studies classes, school calendars will show the Islamic holidays, and safe places will be created for Muslim students. And when bullying occurs, the school will use a “restorative-justice method” involving direct council between the student who bullied and the victim. “It’s more of a comprehensive program, not just a curriculum,” says Stan Anjan, the district’s executive director of family and community engagement. “We’re looking at it from a very integrated and holistic approach.”
“If we do this right, San Diego Unified School District would be the leading school district in the nation to come up with a robust and beautiful anti-bully and anti-Islamophobic program,” says Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the San Diego office of CAIR. “I’m really happy we’re going toward the right direction. I am excited but also careful and cautious, because the work ahead is something we will all be responsible for.”
Elements of the plan have already been approved with a goal for the rest to fall into place by the beginning of fall semester.