(KANSAS CITY, KS, 9/15/15) â€“ The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas) today applauded the efforts of a school in that state to protect a Muslim student who was allegedly harassed and bullied on the recent anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
According to reports received by CAIR-Kansas, a 16-year-old Muslim student at Olathe East High School in Olathe, Kan. reported that he was sent harassing messages by other students on Thursday and Friday, and throughout the weekend. The hate-filled messages on social media included a warning not to attend school on the 9/11 anniversary. One of the harassing students made a mock advertisement stating â€œfly on inâ€ for a September 11th deal.Â Â Â
The bullying was so bad that a teacher let the Muslim student leave early on Friday, but the harassment continued at a football game that evening.
CAIR-Kansas Board Chair Moussa Elbayoumy and the Muslim studentâ€™s mother met Monday with school officials to discuss actions needed to prevent further harassment and bullying.
Elbayoumy stressed the need for a safe educational environment and recommended anti-bullying training for teachers and disciplinary action for the alleged perpetrators.
â€œAs Islamophobia grows in America, Muslim students are often targeted by young people who act on stereotypes and misinformation promoted by adults,â€ said Elbayoumy. â€œWe thank Olathe East High School for taking prompt action to deal with this disturbing incident and applaud the efforts of school officials to prevent further bullying of this student or of his classmates of all faiths and backgrounds.â€
The Olathe School District released a statement, which read:
“The Olathe Public Schools takes situations such as this very seriously. The school administration took immediate action upon hearing the studentâ€™s report and learning of this inappropriate behavior. The student and family have met with school authorities and a full investigation is in progress. This behavior clearly does not meet our expectations and is in violation of our districtâ€™s Code of Student Conduct. Any and all incidences such as this will be thoroughly investigated and consequences provided accordingly.”Â
CAIR noted that even school officials can be the source of anti-Muslim sentiments. The Washington-based civil rights organization is currently dealing with school board members in Virginia and Minnesota who reportedly posted Islamopobic material online.
CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.
In 2013, CAIR's California chapter released a report documenting bias-based bullying of American Muslim students in that state's schools. The report revealed that almost half of Muslim students say they had been subjected to some form of bias-based bullying.
To read the full report, go to: Growing in Faith
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.
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