By Khayla Dixon
Islamophobia is an epidemic in post 9/11 America, and it is evident that school children are not excluded from this trend.
Islamophobia, the dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, has increased in the country since the September 11th attacks, and seems to be passing on to a new generation. In many parts of the country, Muslim or Arab students are mocked with bigoted, prejudice terms such as “terrorist” or “towel-head” (which denigrate their religious headdress).
In a Journalism class press conference, Ms. Trocolar, HHS psychologist, said, “Religion doesn’t play a role in public schools, but there is an effort to educate students. It is a place to learn about it.”
HHS School Psychologist Ms. Trocolar
This offers a possible solution for Islamophobia; teaching others about Islam. By teaching students the principles and ideals valued by Muslims we can hope to discourage the hate associated with the religion.
During the press conference, Ms.Trocolar stated that though she hasn’t seen Islamophobia present in our school, she does not doubt it could be present.
Mrs. Shepard, an HHS social worker, also agreed, stating that she sees there could be “potential” for Islamophobia in our school.
HHS School Social Worker Ms. Shepard
An infamous example of Islamophobia in high school was perpetrated not by students but teachers and administrators. In Texas’s MacArthur High School, in 2015, Ahmed Mohamed, a freshman, was arrested and accused of terrorism when he brought a homemade clock to school. This event captured America’s attention and brought awareness to the active prejudice sometimes present in our school systems.
In discussing Islamaphobic shamers, Mrs. Shepard stated that shaming “goes to the core of who you are.” This implied that those who shame others are dealing with insecurities of their own, and using bullying as an outlet.
HHS School Psychiatrist Dr. Dimitry asserted that one way to stop shaming was to make bullies “aware of the impact of their own actions.”
HHS School Psychiatrist Dr. Dimitry
Dr. Dimitry commented on the long-term effects of bullying on those shamed, “What they’re hearing about themselves can carry through to adulthood.”
By addressing this and encouraging students to work to feel better about themselves, we may be able to reduce and maybe even stop shaming.