"This highlights how much work we have to do with stereotypes. We can use this as an example of how to do a better job teaching our students."
He had just gone out of the classroom to get something, but when he returned he saw a group of his classmates were gathered near his seat and they were going through his things.
It was just to make sure that he wasn’t a terrorist, they said, laughing. Nearby a substitute teacher watched and said nothing.
The boy, whose name the high school didn’t disclose, was from another country, spoke with an accent, and had a different skin color. So of course everyone assumed he was Muslim.
The bullies were punished, but the bullied boy’s friend’s father Brendan Farrington, thought it was not sufficient: four lunch suspensions and “having a word” with the teacher.
“We are living in a country where a few misguided individuals are attacking Muslims and their mosques based on fear that gets ratcheted up by xenophobic politicians looking to turn that fear into political support,” Farrington said in the email exchange with the school principal Billy Epting.
“When attacks based on religion, ethnicity or race go ignored, it emboldens the attackers. When people in authority do nothing in response, it emboldens others to also act out.”
Racism & racial profiling
The principal, on the other hand, had this to say: “I would like to think that we get it right most of the time, but I know we are not perfect.
“At Leon High School we do take racism, racial profiling, bullying, and all misconduct seriously. Dialogue like this will ensure that we continually evaluate our processes so that we can provide a safe environment for all of our students.”
Superintendent Jacki Pons, who is handling the case said, “This highlights how much work we have to do with stereotypes. We can use this as an example of how to do a better job teaching our students.”
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