|October is Bullying Prevention Month and CAIR-SFBA would like to remind parents and students of their civil rights at school.
According to CAIR-CA’s biennial bullying report, 56% of surveyed American Muslim students attending California public schools reported feeling unsafe at school because they were Muslim. American Muslim students have been subjected to bullying, being the subject of offensive jokes, or having their hijab touched offensively.
Please review the following rights every student – regardless of citizenship status – is entitled to while in school:
- YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE AT SCHOOL. Schools must have an anti-bullying policy that is widely posted and distributed to teachers and administrators. If a teacher or other adult witnesses bullying, they are required to stop the bullying and report it. Schools also have a duty to respond appropriately when harassment, discrimination, or bullying incidents are reported.
- YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO WEAR RELIGIOUS CLOTHING. Students have the right to wear their hijab or kufi at public school, even if there is a dress code or uniform requirement. If a student does not wish to participate in school activities requiring the removal of hijab, such as swimming, the school must provide an alternative activity for the student.
- YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE EXCUSED FROM SCHOOL FOR RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS. Federal and state laws prohibit schools from penalizing students for missing school on religious holidays. Make sure to let teachers know well in advance so your child will not have any problems with making assignments.
- YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE STUDENT-LED PRAYER ON CAMPUS. Students can pray individually or as a group during the school day. Students should choose a time to pray that does not coincide with school activities or class time. Students are permitted to leave school for Juma’ah so long as it is arranged in advance with the appropriate teachers and administrators.
- YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SHARE YOUR RELIGIOUS IDENTITY. You have the right to pass out literature or speak to others about Islam, as long as it is not done in a disruptive manner. Students are also able to form an extracurricular Muslim student group.
If your child has experienced bullying or harassment because they are Muslim, please contact CAIR-SFBA so we can advise and assist you in responding to the matter.