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Parents sue over city schools 'anti-Islamophobia' program

Families and local organizations have filed a lawsuit against San Diego Unified School District's ongoing campaign to...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 5:02 AM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 5:02 AM

Families and local organizations have filed a lawsuit against San Diego Unified School District's ongoing campaign to protect Islamic students from bullying.

A group of parents is challenging the constitutionality of the district program.

The program was designed in collaboration with the local Council on American-Islamic Relations. District officials say it is meant to protect Muslim students from bullying and to ensure that Islam is portrayed in a more inclusive light in district classes.

Attorneys for the families suing the district argue that CAIR is trying to use the program to promote Islam in San Diego schools, They say Muslim students should be treated the same as other students in the district and not receive special treatment.

"The district should be looking out for all students, regardless of religion or ethnicity or gender or anything else, and not just focusing on Muslim students," an attorney for the parents said. "Now if there was, in fact, reliable information that Muslim students were being disproportionately bullied, that might be a different situation, but the district's own data shows that's simply not the case."

The parents want the court to grant an injunction halting the program and forcing the district to stop collaborating with CAIR. Attorneys for the district deny that the program is promoting Islam and say the district's dialog with CAIR is appropriate.

"The district continues to dialogue with many community organizations on an ongoing basis, including CAIR," a lawyer for the district said. "It would be inappropriate for the district to exclude CAIR or any other organization based on their religious beliefs."

Both sides presented their arguments to the judge on Tuesday.

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