Press Releases

CAIR Condemns Racist Incident at Md. High School, Calls for ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy on Racism

(BALTIMORE, MD, 10/17/17) — The Maryland Outreach Department of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a racist incident at Bel Air High School in Harford County, Md., and urged school officials to promptly develop a “zero-tolerance policy” on racism and to appropriately discipline anyone who engages in such disturbing acts. 

The incident took place during School Spirit Week, and involved several students wearing shirts, each emblazoned with a single letter, and positioned and photographed so that the letters spelled out the “N” word. 

SEE: Photo Spelling Out Racial Slur Spurs Calls for Expulsion at Bel Air High School

“School officials must take concrete steps to ensure a safe, non-hostile learning environment for students of all backgrounds,” said CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry. “We support families of students demanding stricter consequences for those involved in this incident to help discourage anything like this from happening again.”

A statement released by Harford County Public Schools reads in part:

“The use of racial slurs, or any discriminatory comments, is not acceptable in Harford County Public Schools. As a school system, we welcome and honor diversity and are committed to facilitating a safe and secure environment for all of our students and staff. Given the nature of the incident that occurred at Bel Air High School, the school staff, the administration, and the entire student body will have an opportunity to work towards an inclusive, supportive, and respectful learning environment with the guidance of the Supervisor of Equity & Cultural Proficiency.”

The school system also says continued professional development for staff will focus on cultural responsiveness and inclusivity.

This is the most recent in a string of racist incidents occurring in Maryland localities. Recently, CAIR condemned racist flyers promoting white supremacy and anti-Semitism in Montgomery County. 

SEE: CAIR Condemns Fliers Promoting White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism Distributed in Maryland

Fliers Promoting White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism Appear in Montgomery County petition calling for stricter punishment than the purported 9 days suspension for the students involved has collected over 16,800 signatures.

SEE PETITION: Zero Tolerance for Racism in Schools (Md.) 

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry,


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