Muslim safe spaces, increased lessons on Islam during social studies classes, and other measures will be adopted by San Diego Unified School District to combat bullying.
The Council for American-Islamic Relations and school officials in southern California collaborated on a “holistic” approach to bullying that will likely be implemented this fall. The changes, which include adding Muslim holidays to school calendars, are the result of a study directed by the San Diego school board in July 2016.
“It’s more of a comprehensive program, not just a curriculum,” said Stan Anjan, the district’s executive director of family and community engagement, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Wednesday. “We’re looking at it from a very integrated and holistic approach.”
Trustees voted 4-0 in favor of the plan. One member was absent.
Reporter Gary Warth noted that a 2015 CAIR study on California bullying served as the impetus for the district’s study. The group said 55 percent of Muslim students surveyed claimed they were bullied because of religion.
San Diego officials, however, do not have a breakdown of how many of its students are Muslim.
“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,” Mr. Anjan told the newspaper. “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.”
A report that was shown to the school board this week tallied seven incidents of religion-linked bullying within the last six months, the newspaper reported. The number of Muslim students in that group was not specified.