News & Resources

Anti-Muslim Materials Used in Classroom Lesson Ruled Discriminatory by the CDE

Mar 9, 2018 | Legal Developments and News

The California Department of Education (CDE) recently ruled that a seventh grade social studies teacher presented material to her class about Islamic Sharia Law that was discriminatory and biased.  The material was downloaded from an anti-Muslim website and included inaccurate, provocative, and denigrating statements about Islam.  Although the school district agreed the materials used by the teacher in the classroom were inappropriate, it did not find that the lesson was motivated by religious discriminatory intent or that the evidence supported claims of bullying or a hostile educational environment for Muslims was created.  CDE found otherwise and ordered counseling sessions for the affected student, training for teachers to ensure that lessons do not promote religious discrimination, a review of the District’s anti-bullying policy, and the organization of events emphasizing tolerance of cultural and religious differences.

As a reminder, teachers should carefully review and/or vet all supplemental educational materials, particularly those downloaded from the internet, to ensure that they are free of statements or viewpoints that could be considered discriminatory or biased against protected classifications, including religion.  Failure to do this could trigger a school district’s Uniform Complaint Procedures for discrimination or bullying, and CDE would have jurisdiction to review should the complainant appeal the school district’s decision, as apparently happened in this case.  If you have further questions about potential impacts of this case, please contact a DWK attorney.

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