In a political climate that seems to confuse the right to discriminate with the right to religious freedom, it’s easy to feel tired of hearing that phrase come up in the news. But the Department of Justice, together with the Department of Education, is making a move in the right direction for religious freedom, this time.
With Muslim students particularly in mind, the DOJ is setting a plan into motion to ‘combat religious discrimination’ in all educational settings, according to Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
Working with U.S. Attorney, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has taken action around the country to ensure that all students that attend public school can do so free of the fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence.
While the DOJ’s main goal is to combat discriminatory backlash again students who are Muslim or are perceived to be Muslim, they argue that their initiative will be beneficial for all children of every back ground and religion.
The policy is a little late in coming. Bullying and discrimination against Muslim students has been high across the nation every since 9/11. Some school dress codes have specifically banned hijab and other religious headcoverings, or have banned ‘all’ religious adornment but made exceptions for obviously Christian or Jewish accessories. There are students who have gone their entire academic lives, from kindergarten to college, knowing that the public school system was tolerating them, not accepting them.
Under the new plan, parents made aware of bullying on religious grounds are encouraged to contact the federal Department of Education, if mediation in the school isn’t offered or isn’t effective.