Religion Equity

IDRA EAC-South Technical Assistance

The IDRA EAC-South’s capacity-building technical assistance can help state and local education agencies in addressing religious discrimination. These issues may be self-identified or identified through an active school desegregation court order, an Office for Civil Rights resolution, or an investigation by a federal or state civil rights enforcement agency.

Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects students from discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all students are equally protected from discrimination based on any of the aforementioned identities, including discrimination or harassment based on a student’s actual or perceived:

  • shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, or
  • citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity.

To ask about the availability of services for your school or school district, complete an intake form.

How religious discrimination may manifest in schools
  • Allowing students to be subjected to mixed ethnic and religious slurs.
  • Harassing students because of their perceived religion.
  • Restricting certain religious attire or religious, personal grooming.
  • Accommodating certain religious practices but not others.
Examples of technical assistance and training available

The IDRA EAC-South is available to provide tailored technical assistance and training to state and local education agencies. Examples of the support available include:

  • Assessments of school climate
  • Data analyses of relevant metrics related to religious discrimination and harassment
  • Administrator and teacher training on IDRA’s Equity Principles
  • Reviewing and revising local policies to identify and remove systemic barriers
  • Developing targeted train-the-trainer plans for educators and administrators
  • Modifying and/or creating equitable bullying and harassment policies
  • Establishing a local monitoring plan to ensure fidelity of implementation

See our resource page for tools on educational equity and religion. Highlights are below.

Resources on Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying in Schools

As the use of social media and cell phones continues to expand and connect students more readily in important ways, so too does the rising threat of cyberbullying. Whether it concerns students “trolling” other students on Twitter because of their perceived gender, sending continuous text messages harassing a student because of their race, or posting repeated disparaging pictures implicating a student’s religion or immigration status on Instagram, cyberbullying comes in many forms.

See Resource List

Article: Relational Youth Violence – Protecting Muslim Youth in School

School-age children in the United States are growing up in an environment that is increasingly hostile toward the Muslim community. Analyzing the most recent FBI data available, the Pew Research Center (2016) finds that hate crimes against Muslims in 2015 had risen to similar levels as those committed shortly after 9/11, which was a 67 percent increase in incidents from the previous year. Although 2016 numbers from the FBI will not be available until late this year, it is unlikely that this number will have decreased.

Read article

Sofía Bahena outlines challenges facing American Muslim students and strategies for schools.

Read article: Relational Youth Violence – Protecting Muslim Youth in School, by Sofía Bahena, Ed.D., IDRA Newsletter, February 2017

Know Your Rights: Title VI and Religion Fact Sheet

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces federal civil rights laws that prohibit schools, colleges, and universities from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. These laws protect students who are or are perceived to be members of a religious group, such as Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs, from discrimination on any of the bases described above.

See factsheet

See factsheet by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights: Know Your Rights: Title VI and Religion Fact Sheet, January 2017