It’s August, and you know what that means: It’s time to go back to school! Whether you’re starting at a new campus, returning to a favorite stomping ground, or sending your kids off to school, take the time to make sure you know your rights as a Muslim in a public school. Unfortunately, cases of Muslim youth being victimized by bulling and harassment have increased in the last year. A survey by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding reported that 42% of Muslims with children in K-12 schools report bullying of their children because of their faith. In Oklahoma, a teacher at Dewey Public Schools called Islam a “death cult” and suggested voting for Trump “if you want them butchered.” A Jenks school showed a film erroneously suggesting that Muslims were responsible for the Murraugh Federal Building bombing until CAIR-OK’s advocacy had the film removed. Anti-Muslim bias incidents are all too common, and oftentimes it is our children who suffer the most from this atmosphere of Islamophobia. We believe that an education is the most important part of a young person’s life, and we want to make this school year a safe, happy, and prosperous one for each and every Muslim student in our community. We want you and your families to know your rights and to be empowered to stand up against harassment. If you are a student, please know that we can help you if you are facing bullying or harassment at school. It’s not acceptable, and you are not alone. If you are a parent, know that CAIR Oklahoma supports you and your child and can help you work through these issues with your school and district. In order to protect the rights of Muslim students, CAIR-OK produced the Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices, a free handbook that outlines some common religious practices and suggests ways to support Muslim students in the classroom. If you would like a copy of this guide, please contact us and we can send them free of charge to you or your school district. We can also bring live in-person training to teachers, staff, and administrators to help cover these topics in more detail. If you plan on requesting accommodations for your needs such as prayer breaks, uniform changes, or dietary restrictions, CAIR-OK can help you make these requests in writing and discuss these needs with your school. Whatever your needs, the CAIR-OK Civil Rights Department is here to help you and your families maximize the value of a good education. We are proud to assist our students in achieving their greatest success, and we look forward to hearing from you.
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