Sunday, March 11, 2018

Calif. Public School Caught Working With Islamic Terror Front Group

A federal judge ordered the San Diego Unified School District on Tuesday to hand over evidence detailing its correspondence with the Council on American-Islamic Relations about the implementation of a controversial anti-Islamophobia bullying initiative at San Diego public schools.

The development is the latest in a long-running saga concerning school officials in San Diego coordinating with CAIR, an American-Muslim civil rights and religious organization with known links to a number of anti-Israel groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

The controversy began in April when the San Diego school district announced it was launching an anti-Islamophobia initiative to combat what it described as a vast and underreported epidemic of anti-Muslim bullying in the district’s schools.

The multi-year anti-bullying plan, developed with assistance from CAIR, called for adding Muslim holidays to staff calendars, introducing new library materials on Muslim culture, encouraging Muslim-centered high school clubs, creating “safe spaces” for Muslim students and providing staff training about Muslim culture.

Hanif Mohebi, the executive director of CAIR-San Diego, praised the initiative and said it should serve as a model for school districts across the country.

“If we do this right, San Diego Unified School District would be the leading school district in the nation to come up with a robust and beautiful anti-bully and anti-Islamophobic program,” Mohebi told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Mohebi was invited to give talks at more than a dozen San Diego schools starting in late 2016 to teach students and teachers how to reduce bullying of Muslim students.

Hanif gave pamphlets to students that advised Muslim youth to contact CAIR if they faced bullying, which according to CAIR includes “insulting comments about Islam.”

Handing out such pamphlets is considered to be “both a religious and educational exercise,” according to the CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad who testified before the National Labor Relations Board in 2016.

Many parents were outraged. They thought the initiative looked more like a religious advocacy program than an anti-bullying initiative.

A lawsuit filed in May by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund accused the school district of entangling itself with CAIR to set up a “subtle, discriminatory scheme that establishes Muslim students as the privileged religious group.”

“Consequently, students of other faiths are left on the outside looking in, vulnerable to religiously motivated bullying, while Muslim students enjoy an exclusive right to the School District’s benevolent protection,” the lawsuit stated.

Charles LiMandri, president and chief counsel of the FCDF, urged the San Diego school system to rescind the policy, saying it likely violated the First Amendment because it was drafted with assistance from CAIR, an overtly religious organization.

“The San Diego Unified School District has gone out on a limb, more than most school districts would be willing to do, to partner with a group that identifies itself as a religious group,” LiMandri told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a phone interview.

LiMandri also accused CAIR of intentionally targeting public schools as a way to covertly spread the Muslim faith.


Military Spouse Says Education Savings Accounts Would Create ‘Phenomenal’ Freedom for Those Who Serve

The spouse of a retired Air Force colonel says a bill creating federally funded savings accounts for military families would provide more school choices and flexibility in educating the children of those in the armed forces.

“It absolutely would give them the freedom to make the educational choices that they need to make for their particular family members,” Melinda Bargery, a mother of four and wife of Col. Chris Bargery, who served in the Air Force for more than 28 years, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

The bill, introduced Wednesday by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., would create a new kind of education savings account that military families could use to increase their school choice options by paying for certain costs.

Options covered would include private school tuition, private online learning programs, individual classes and extracurriculars at public schools, computer hardware, textbooks, curriculum, and other instructional materials, according to a report from The Heritage Foundation, which has championed the idea.

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“Thirty-five percent of service members have considered leaving the military because of the limited education options available, and 40 percent have either declined or would decline a career-advancing opportunity at a different installation if it meant their child would have to leave a high-performing school,” Banks wrote in an op-ed that appeared Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.

Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced a companion bill Wednesday in the Senate.

Bargery, a resident of Mount Vernon, Virginia, says she homeschooled each of the couple’s four children “at one point along the way.”

She said she knows from experience that military education savings accounts would provide needed flexibility for military families, which often are on the move.

“If we had had an educational savings account where we could have drawn from that to pay for our homeschool supplies, or extracurricular classes, or tutoring for our kids, that would have been phenomenal,” Bargery said.

The family made 21 moves during her husband’s 14 different assignments, she said.

The Bargerys’ four children are Sarah, now 28; Haley, 27; Jackson, 24; and Mary Margaret, 15.

During son Jackson’s senior year at Ramstein High School, a Department of Defense school in Germany, school officials said he would not be able to graduate since he had not met all of the school’s requirements.

“They wanted him to take all these classes that were not going to help him in any sort of way, but just to fulfill their requirements,” Bargery said. “And eventually, after much, much discussion and frustration, we found out that he could be allowed to graduate essentially from the school that he had previously been in, with their requirements.”

Had the family been able to use a program such as education savings accounts, Bargery said, they might not have had the issue to begin with.

“It just took so much of our time, and we thought we were going to have to put him in classes like ‘Dress for Success’ rather than an AP [Advanced Placement] psych class or something like that,” she said. “So you just run up against situations like that over and over.”

Bargery said military families would be able to give their children more consistency if they were able to access “great online academies” and other choices through education savings accounts.

The quality of education also would increase if military families had the funds and ability to choose a school for their children, rather than being confined to a school on base.

“Oftentimes the schools that are zoned for military bases are subpar, or don’t offer the services that your kids might need,” Bargery said. “Having that money given straight to us, instead of going to the school district, would be amazing because we could just choose how we wanted to do that along the way.”

Sometimes military families decide not to live on a base because of the quality of the school or schools there.

“I have noticed over the years that people less and less chose to live on base, and oftentimes it was because the school that was zoned for the base was so poor,” Bargery said, adding: “They wanted better for their children, so they would be willing to live further out, away from the base, just to give their kids a better education.”

“I hope it passes,” she said of the legislation.


Australia: Tough school deputy head supported by the students

School authorities making mountains out of a molehill

The student who had his hair cut by a long-standing deputy principal of an elite private high school has revealed he never wanted he wanted him to be sacked.

A woman who claimed to be the boy's aunt told The Herald Sun they did not try to force Rohan Brown out of Trinity Grammar School in Melbourne. She also said that her nephew had been the target of bullying since the announcement of Mr Brown's dismissal and that the student and Mr Brown had sorted the issue out between themselves.

Students were seen passionately protesting the dismissal of Mr Brown, with one student claiming students and teachers alike were crying over it.

However despite more than 500 people signing an online petition to 'Bring Brownie Back' and parents threatening to withhold fees, the school is standing firm on its decision.

Principal Michael Davies said he would consult with advisors and leaders so that the school could provide more insight into the issue in the coming weeks.

Trinity Grammar School council chairman Roderick Lyle told parents on Thursday night Mr Brown had left the school. Mr Lyle said Mr Brown's actions were 'inconsistent with community expectations in this day and age', The Age reported.

It is understood Mr Brown cut a student's hair because it was too long on the school's photo day.

The school's policy is that hair must be off the collar.

'As a result, the school council was of the view that Mr Brown's leadership position at the school was no longer tenable,' the letter read. 'We are all very disappointed and deeply saddened by the situation.'

Mr Brown had worked at the school for almost 30 years, and said he was upset about what had happened. 'I would like to go back. It's a good school and this is tearing me apart. I can't comment further,' he said.

Former students said they believed the decision to sack Mr Brown was political.

'This was a school which produced well-rounded men who had an interest in the wider community not just their pay packets and status. The school is being destroyed,' a former Trinity Grammar student said.

Former teachers said there had been high staff turnover after current principal Michael Davies took the role in 2014. A teacher estimates 152 staff had left the school since then.

In his letter to parents, Mr Lyle said Mr Brown had served the school and had made a strong contribution.

An interim leadership structure has been put in place at the school while the council looked for a replacement for Mr Brown.


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