By Ernie McCray
There’s a survey highlighting that a large number of Muslim students are being bullied at school. Our school district picks up on it and looks at ways to make them feel safe on their campuses. And before you can say “Way to go!” to the school system, a bunch of hateful folks come up with some “reverse discrimination” kind of BS.
They whine about those students being given “special treatment.” They blabber about the schools surrendering to Sharia law and caving into demands made by the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). They claim falsely that CAIR is a “covert supporter of Islamic fundamentalism rather than a supporter of a reformed Islam compatible with the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
Well, putting nonsense aside, the truth is these young people are not being given special treatment: they’re being treated the way they should be treated — with respect, as citizens of our country, as human beings who are simply trying to live good lives as they pursue the “American Dream.” It’s so sad that yahoos have to pop up every time somebody from a “minority” group gets a slight leg up in the scheme of things, making them live out, against their will, the reality that freedom isn’t free – for them.
What the district is trying to do, teach students about Islam and include Islamic holidays on the district’s calendars, is an act of human decency. It’s what’s called for in times like these when one considers that a demonic jester in the White House has fanned hatred for Muslims like an oxygen rich wind feeding a forest fire. He’s taken open hostility to fellow citizens to a scary level.
What the district is trying to do counters the hate that the president has thrown into our nation’s social intercourse, adding richly to our student’s social and emotional learning, to the character development and the civic values they will adopt as they grow in age and maturity. In essence, the district’s approach enhances the chances of our children getting to know each other better which is essential to their wellbeing in the future as they are charged with finding better ways for people to embrace their diversity and get along down the line.
As to the bullying, specifically, we have to understand that it’s hard for kids to realize their life potential if they’re cringing as they make their way on our campuses; if they’re feeling depressed and anxious and sad and lonely; if the abuse they’re enduring causes their academic achievement to decrease or makes them miss, skip or drop out of school, having lost interest in activities they once enjoyed. We have to remember, considering our times, that a small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures, as has been the case in our nation’s infamous school shootings.
We, of course, have to keep our schools safe for all children. But when it comes to Muslim students and the bullying some of them are facing at their schools, we have to keep in mind that there will be those who will persist in their efforts to keep us from doing this work on their behalf but the truth is: their right to hate does not trump someone’s right to feel safe.
We, as a community, need to stay abreast of all this and give our Muslim children what they most need from us: our love.
That’s a kind of “special treatment” they could never get enough of.