Well, I think I’ve seen it all after trying to wrap my head around this one. The San Diego Unified School District is under fire for an anti-bullying campaign that some parents now claim shows special favor to Muslim students. You’d think that being against bullying and standing up for an often targeted community would be a good thing, but it seems as if these parents are of the same ilk as the “All Lives Matter” crew.
According to the Associated Press, six parents have sued the school district claiming that its anti-Islamophobia campaign favors Islam over other religions and gives special protections to Muslim students. An attorney representing these parents, Charles LiMandri, slammed the campaign as a “politically correct solution to a problem that does not exist.”
The irony is that, according to AP, the initial plan drew little notice when the board unanimously approved it, 4-0, on April 4, with one member being absent. The comments from staff and community members were generally positive.
Pushback came only as the news spread into the conservative media and on social media, with several critics blasting the new plan as an unwanted intrusion of Muslim beliefs and culture.
The school district declined to comment on the pending litigation, but district officials have stood by the campaign, saying that the bullying of Muslim students was widespread but highly underreported. However, as criticism grew, the district then proceeded to break it down even more, posting extensive explanations on its website, clarifying that it wasn’t endorsing Islam or trying to implement Shariah law (seriously?) but that it was responding to concerns about the safety of Muslim students.
As AP notes:
The multiyear plan includes ensuring staff calendars include Muslim holidays, reviewing library materials on Muslim culture, providing resources to teachers and engaging in partnerships with the Council on American Islamic Relations.
The district also plans to consider high school clubs that promote American Muslim culture, create “safe spaces” for students and train staff about Muslim culture. The district is reviewing internal staff calendars to make sure Muslim holidays are recognized.
However, the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court claims that the campaign violates the Constitution by endorsing a religion and asks a judge to immediately stop the implementation of the policy while the merits of the claim are considered.
LiMandri said that he is open to settlement talks and that an attorney with the school district appeared to be reviewing its partnership with CAIR.
“No one is saying we have to have expensive, protracted litigation,” LiMandri said at a news conference Thursday. “There can be a more commonsense approach to this where all students can be protected and no students are being favored to the disadvantage of anyone else.”
Hanif Mohebi, the executive director of CAIR’s San Diego chapter, sees it differently, saying that the lawsuit “seems to be an attempt to have the courts enforce growing Islamophobia in our state and nation, and to strip away much-needed protection for Muslim students who face increasing bullying.”
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.