SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS Local) – Parents and local organizations are suing the San Diego Unified School District over a controversial classroom program focused on the Islamic faith and protecting Muslim students from bullying.
The lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of the school district’s “anti-Islamophobia” program, which was created in a partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
School district officials claim the program is meant to ensure that Islam is portrayed in a more inclusive light in classrooms, however local parents argue CAIR is using the program to promote their religion in public schools.
“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, via WTKR.
The lawsuit also pushes back against the district’s claims that the program is needed protect Muslim students from bullying incidents. “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 attorney adds.
The concerned parents are demanding that an injunction be issued, halting the program and forcing the schools to stop working with CAIR.
“It would be inappropriate for the district to exclude CAIR or any other organization based on their religious beliefs,” a lawyer for the San Diego Unified School District said. The district oversees the education of over 105,000 children in grades K-12.