On April 5, Trustees of the San Diego Unified School District voted 4-0 to adopt measures creating Muslim safe spaces and increasing Islam-related lessons in an effort to “combat bullying.”
The new measures, which will most likely be adopted this fall, are part of what is being termed a “holistic” approach to bullying and are the result of a July 2016 study led by the San Diego school board.
The district’s executive director of family and community engagement, Stan Anjan, stated, “It’s more of a comprehensive program, not just a curriculum. We’re looking at it from a very integrated and holistic approach.”
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a 2015 Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) study on bullying in California was the catalyst for the district’s study. CAIR and school officials then collaborated on the new measures, which will include adding Muslim holidays to school calendars.
In its California bullying report, CAIR said 55 percent of Muslim students surveyed asserted they were bullied because of their religion. However, San Diego school district officials do not have information regarding how many of its students are Muslim.
In addition, although a report presented to the school board this week showed seven incidents of religion-related bullying over the last six months, it did not specify the number of Muslim students involved in the events.
“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. 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,” Mr. Anjan told the San Diego Union-Tribune.