World Bulletin / News Desk
A California school district’s plan to combat what activists and school officials call an epidemic of Islamophobic bullying may be derailed as a coalition of opponents prepares to challenge the proposal in court.
The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) recently announced a plan to address the bullying of Muslim students as part of a wider effort aimed at combating bullying in the school system.
“As we have done with other vulnerable segments of our student population, our intent in drawing attention to the bullying of Muslim students,” the school district said on its website.
“In particular, [the program] is to raise awareness of the issue and to promote tolerance and understanding.”
However, the plan has run afoul of a number of groups and six parents led by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund that are suing on the grounds of what they say is preferential treatment.
The fund filed the lawsuit in March against SDUSD, five members of its board and the district’s superintendent. The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the program's implementation.
In court documents, the coalition alleged that the program is “a subtle, discriminatory scheme that establishes Muslim students as the privileged religious group within the school community.
“Students of other faiths are left on the outside looking in, vulnerable to religiously motivated bullying, while Muslim students enjoy an exclusive right to the School District’s benevolent protection.”
The charge was strongly denied by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose San Diego chapter helped the school district craft the anti-Islamophobia program.
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