August 17, 2006

Muslim family - Cape Henlopen update

This is the apparent situation with the "settlement" described on the US Dept. of Justice website regarding the Muslim family and the Cape Henlopen School District:

The settlement was based on a separate lawsuit brought BY the US DoJ's Civil Rights Division based on the [Muslim] family's complaint. This is a wholly separate legal case than the individual lawsuit brought by the family (the mother) that was reported on in the News Journal and NY Times.

Interestingly, much of what was involved in the settlement negotiated with US DoJ and the district was also sought by the family. Consider --

US DoJ settlement agreement:

In the settlement agreement reached between the school district and the Civil Rights Division, the school agreed to provide teacher training on diversity and the school’s policies regarding religious expression, to provide a tolerance education program for all K-5 students, and to create specific performance expectations for the teacher and ensure that she achieves them.

Family demands in their suit:

They also want the court to order the district to:

Develop policies to prevent intolerance and guide administrators on dealing with student complaints about harassment related to religious beliefs and social background.

Implement mandatory training for faculty and staff on religious and cultural diversity.

•Keep statistics on racial discrimination and harassment complaints by students and the action taken to resolve them.

But this isn't all the family desires. As the News Journal reported, "The mother and daughters are asking the court for monetary damages to cover their pain and suffering and to punish the district." If what was noted in my last update post about this whole deal is accurate, it is pretty easy to understand this. In addition, keep in mind that the family's complaint included this:

...the lawsuit alleges even that option (a home tutor) didn't work well because the instructor, approved by the district, continued to discuss ethnic hatreds and religious wars, despite the therapist cautioning against it. Another tutor was eventually sent to the family's house, but not for as much time as the family expected.

Furthermore, recall that Cape couldn't guarantee that the family's daughters wouldn't face ridicule if they returned to the school(s).

Personally, that last "guarantee," when considered, actually is something which realistically can't be guaranteed by the district. There's no way school officials can be everywhere and every place keeping an eye (and ear) out for student harassment of the Muslim girls. What they could guarantee that if any further harassment did take place, it would be promptly dealt with -- and severely.

Stay tuned for further info as it develops. (Past Colossus coverage on this here and here.)

Posted by Hube at August 17, 2006 10:07 AM | TrackBack

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