Friday, May 04, 2007

Sensitive friends 

Littlest Scholar is a middle schooler, and from time to time Mrs. and I will hear of some conflict between students. Teachers and parents meet; the kids go back to being friends (usually, because her school is very small.) What does not usually happen is sensitivity training. But at Westwood Middle School in Blaine, CAIR believes, that's just what is needed.
A girl who wears an Islamic head scarf says a fellow student at Blaine's Westwood Middle School called her a terrorist.

Two other Muslim students say food and milk were thrown at them in the cafeteria. And an assistant principal who talked with a Muslim student about the lunchroom spat allegedly made inappropriate references to Islam.

CAIR-Minnesota, a civil rights group, raised the allegations Thursday and asked the school to investigate. The request got a swift reply from Don Helmstetter, superintendent of the Spring Lake Park School District, who called the allegations "serious" and said an investigation began minutes after he got a copy of CAIR's letter.

A perfect administrator, Mr. Helmstetter is. Cry "serious!" and unleash the dogs of political correctness.

According to CAIR chairwoman Lori Saroya, on Sept. 11, 2006, a student who wears the hijab was told by a boy she didn't know that "Muslims are terrorists." She reported the incident to a counselor but no action was taken, Saroya said. Westwood Principal Paula Hoff and a counselor met with the girl's parents and told them that it was an isolated incident and that sensitivity training would be considered.

"The kids are friends now, but the boy told the girl that he hadn't been disciplined," Saroya said. The girl's parents also had asked to meet with the boy and his parents. No meeting or sensitivity training took place, Saroya said.

No sense letting reconciliation and friendship between the one-time belligerents stand in the way of a good sensitivity training! And note that it's exactly on September 11, 2006. That date is in there ... why?

Two other Muslim students say they have been taunted about their religion through the school year, and last month had food and milk thrown at them in the cafeteria, Saroya said. When a confrontation followed, only one student -- a Muslim who had "tried to defend her friend" -- was sent to the office, Saroya said.

There, "the assistant principal said, 'Do Islam and the Qur'an say it's OK to call people bad names?' " Saroya said. "It's hard to imagine a Christian kid hearing that about the Bible."

Well, why would that be, Ms Saroya? Could it be because we are not allowed to talk about the Bible in school? And yet in the name of diversity we should have wudu basins. So we must recognize Islam but not discuss its tenets; we cannot recognize Christianity or its tenets.

Interesting that the piece calls CAIR-MN only a civil rights group, when its re-emergence in Minnesota is so recent and under such other clouds. The article reports Ms Saroya saying that though the organization "has received no similar complaints" elsewhere, "Some sensitivity training at schools could really help head off this kind of thing." It makes me think Ms Saroya is looking for any entry to bring her special interest into the school system.