School board calls for plan to protect Muslim students from bullying

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SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Unified School District board members took the first step Tuesday to put an end to bullying and harassment of Muslim students at city schools.

More than 200 members of the community, not just Muslim residents, packed into Tuesday's meeting demanding the district protect the children. In response, the board voted unanimously to develop a plan to address Islamophobia and bullying of Muslim students.

A recent study by the Council on American Islamic Relations showed 56 percent of Muslim students are picked on at school simply because of their religion.

One mother in attendance said her son changed after he was the target of racist remarks.

"My son never felt that he was different than any other child until that happened," said Aisha Shafi.

Several students -- some of whom said they were physically attacked because of  their religion -- also urged the district to come up a plan.

Ten-year-old Tasmeya Hammad said another girl became hostile and violent after she asked Tasmeya why her mother wore a head scarf.

"Please help us stop this kind of blame so no one else gets hurt,'' she added.

Superintendent Cindy Marten has been directed to produce a report this fall offering solutions on how to reduce bullying of Muslim students.

Luqmaan Bokhary, a high school student, said many Muslim students go to school in fear, which also affects their academic performance. He added that his mother, a San Diego Unified student in the 1980s, also was harassed.

During the meeting, numerous Muslim members of the audience held lime- green signs that read, "Protect our kids.''

The school bard decided to take action and directed Superintendent Cindy Marten  to produce a report this fall offering solutions on how to reduce bullying of Muslim students. That plan will be voted upon at a future date.