The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-DFW) today called on the McKinney Independent School District to launch an independent investigation of whether two middle school teachers’ private anti-Muslim and hateful views are negatively impacting their students.
Parents of students from McKinney Independent School District contacted CAIR-DFW a regarding Islamophobic, transphobic, and hateful tweets made by two Cockrill Middle School teachers, Justin Barton and Mark Russell. On Twitter, these teachers referred to Islam as a “satanic death cult,” an “evil ideology,” and “a political ideology…[that] cannot assimilate. It must dominate.” Highly offensive anti-Muslim propaganda is retweeted numerous times. The teachers also attack the LGBTQ community and equate being transgender with having a mental illness, perversity, and delusion.
In a letter to McKinney ISD’s superintendent, CAIR-DFW called for an investigation into the teachers’ impact on students, disciplinary action, protection from retaliation for McKinney ISD students, and diversity training for staff.
“While we recognize the right to freedom of speech, CAIR-DFW is appalled by these teachers’ hateful tweets,” said CAIR-DFW Legal Director Nikiya Natale. “Given the views expressed by these teachers, we are deeply concerned about students’ safety in the school and fear that it is not an inclusive and nondiscriminatory learning environment. Hate has no place in the classroom.”
McKinney ISD has recently come under fire for allegations that the school district is openly endorsing Christianity. A group of concerned parents have been pressing the school for months to mandate that teachers remove religious displays from the classroom. Both Barton and Russell spoke in support of the school at the December 2017 McKinney ISD Board of Trustees meeting.
McKinney ISD also recently faced criticism for its superintendent-led Christian prayer at its back-to-school convocation, which was held at Prestonwood Baptist Church.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is also calling for diversity training for all school staff using CAIR’s “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” which is designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.
A recent report by CAIR’s California office revealed that Muslim students are bullied at twice the rate as the national average.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.