- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 7, 2002

MANASSAS (AP) Not far from the Pentagon, educators are rethinking multicultural education after the terrorist attacks. In Prince William this year, the seminars devoted to civil liberties and Arab issues were packed.
For the past eight years, Prince William has hosted a multicultural summer institute for teachers, bringing together representatives from a variety of cultures black, Asian, Latino for a weeklong continuing education program.
This year, the focus was different.
Hundreds of teachers from Prince William shared their stories last month with their colleagues at the seminar. A few teachers from Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park also attended.
Barbara Staubs, a teacher at Martin Luther King Elementary in Woodbridge, told a story.
The day the children returned to school after September 11, one of her fourth-grade students told her: "I'm Indian. I'm not Arab." Another one of her students, a child of Arab descent, was out of school for a week because his mother was afraid for him.
Anita Al-Haj, who teaches English as a second language at Featherstone Elementary School, said she thought the institute "is knocking down a lot of stereotypes."
Mrs. Al-Haj's husband is Palestinian. After the documentary, she spoke of the concerns she had after September 11, when the names of the terrorist hijackers began to be released.
"When you see your name plastered across the television screen saying you're one of the suspected terrorists, you're afraid of what's going to happen to you. It [affects] in such a way that it's indescribable," Mrs. Al-Haj said.
Teachers said they also are seeing increased diversity in their classrooms. Census data show that the number of people identifying themselves as Arab increased 54 percent i n the Washington area from 1990 to 2000.


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