“The Chilling Rise of Islamophobia in Our Schools”

Lots of hijab-tugging going on, safe spaces needed:

When schools are not safe places for all children
Ghada Sadaka, principal of Sir Wilfrid Laurier P.S. in Markham is being investigated by the York District School Board after a community member complained about anti-Muslim postings on her public Facebook page.

Ghada Sadaka, principal of Sir Wilfrid Laurier P.S. in Markham is being investigated by the York District School Board after a community member complained about anti-Muslim postings on her public Facebook page.  (FACEBOOK)  safariscreensnapz242

Imagine videos purportedly showing violent “Jewish takeovers” or “homosexual takeovers” of Paris and London, or a video headlined: “Must see: Dutch mayor tells fellow Jews they can f—— if they don’t like freedom.”

Mohammedans are not Jews. The soldiers of allah hate and kill Jews, as per instructions in their Koran. Sometimes they need a reminder that their vicious, outrageous analogies are absurd and offensive. The reemerging anti-Semitism in Europe is largely driven by the invading Muslim hordes, who brought it in their mental baggage.

Related:

To some it may be just the simple exercise of free speech rights. Others will argue that as distasteful as they are, a person must have the right to express such views. Yet others may feel that these cross the line into hate.

These “others” are Muselmaniacs who demand we do away with free speech.

Did she violate rules of conduct? If guilty, what disciplinary actions and/or sensitivity training was ordered?

Hopefully none. 

Rightfully, many parents are beginning to wonder if different standards apply to Muslims.

There should be standards, which means no hijabbery or any other Mohammedan mores in our schools. Those are the only standards that should be enforced.

Faisal Kutty is counsel to KSM Law, an associate professor at Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. @faisalkutty.

Imagine videos purportedly showing violent “Jewish takeovers” or “homosexual takeovers” of Paris and London, or a video headlined: “Must see: Dutch mayor tells fellow Jews they can f—— if they don’t like freedom.”

To some it may be just the simple exercise of free speech rights. Others will argue that as distasteful as they are, a person must have the right to express such views. Yet others may feel that these cross the line into hate.

Now imagine these are being posted by your child’s principal on Facebook. I am sure not too many will continue waxing eloquent about free speech. There is an expectation and requirement that teachers, educators and those in charge of children exercise greater prudence.

Yet this is exactly what transpired in Markham, with one difference. Ghada Sadaka, principal at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School, did not post about Jews or gays. She posted about Muslims. Though the York Region District School Board finally investigated the matter after some pressure, it has refused to publicly release its findings. Is the principal guilty? Did she violate rules of conduct? If guilty, what disciplinary actions and/or sensitivity training was ordered?

Indeed, any parent who sends their children to York Region schools and every taxpayer is entitled to these answers. Unfortunately, instead of putting parents at ease and assuring them that all children are entitled to a safe, inclusive and accepting environment free from fear and hate, the board is stonewalling. The board calls it a “personnel matter.”

As of last week two trustees, Allan Tam and Billy Pang, have joined the growing chorus asking for transparency.

Rightfully, many parents are beginning to wonder if different standards apply to Muslims.

If educators who not only harbour, but openly espouse such hateful views are allowed to continue with impunity, what message are we sending to Muslim children? What kind of toxic environment is being created for Muslim students and teachers?

Until relatively recently, such complaints were unheard of in Ontario. Now a growing number of teachers and parents have expressed concern about being targeted or discriminated against. In fact, Amira El Ghawaby of the National Council on Canadian Muslims says a number of reported cases “in the school setting involve teachers and/or problematic lessons.”

In one case a teacher pulled off a 10-year-old girl’s hijab and pulled her hair after asking “what happens if I pull this off?” In another incident a teacher told a student “I do not deal with terrorists.”

El Ghawaby also noted “there has been a significant increase in requests for our Islamophobia workshops and guides for educators and for students.”

Though there are no thorough studies in Canada yet, the evidence from south of the border does not bode well, according to an in-depth story published earlier this year by Mother Jones. Citing a civil rights group, the article titled “The Chilling Rise of Islamophobia in Our Schools” argues that too many anti-Muslim incidents have started with a teachers or school administrators. The article also notes that one-in-five Muslim students in California reported experiencing discrimination by an educator.

Disturbingly, Mother Jones also reported that only 42 per cent of kids harassed in school reported their plight. The rest did not because they felt reporting it would not have made a difference. This is the reality because the insidious nature of Islamophobia is minimized and educators are free to hold onto and act based on their hateful views.

Indeed, as one Sir Wilfrid Laurier student told the Toronto Star, she even skipped Eid prayers, an important Muslim holiday, because she was afraid to visit the office to obtain a late slip. She added that many of her friends are also fearful of the principal.

Even psychiatrists have weighed in on the damaging impact of Islamophobia, especially on children.

Sadly. Islamophobia is not the only allegation directed at the York Region school board. In fact, members of the black community have raised similar concerns about anti-black racism within the board.

Moreover, even before these stories came to light, a group calling itself the Coalition for Good Governance was rebuffed after seeking transparency.

The board, which appears to be run as a fiefdom, clearly needs to engage with these communities to help create a more inclusive atmosphere. It’s about time the Ontario Ministry of Education intervened to get to the bottom of what may be systemic issues before trust erodes further, a culture of fear grows and more children are scarred.

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