May 25, 2011
Mr. Maurice Green
Guilford County Public Schools
712 North Eugene Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Dear Mr. Green:
First let me say that the Muslim community appreciates your very successful efforts to
educate the whole child through raising expectations, developing the arts, and offering
character building experiences. These changes help students excel and find meaning in
their daily experiences which builds a standard of excellence and love of learning.
Guilford County Schools is fortunate to have a superintendent who is skillful in the law
and keenly aware of the great challenges some students face. Children are learning and
graduating! Yet there is still work to do.
As you are aware, nationally and locally, there is an increase in bullying against
Muslims. The increase in bullying and prejudice against Muslims appears to be coming
from a lack of understanding or knowledge of Islam and culture. All Muslims do not
condone terrorism any more than all Christians condone the violence against the federal
building in Oklahoma. This generalization is simplistic and illogical. For the sake of
critical thinking skills and human decency, leaders and educators must work to correct
this error in thinking which is hurting many innocent people.
Offering a diverse student body prepares students for life; but with diversity comes
responsibilities. We have the responsibility to protect, support, and befriend one another.
We believe that helping students and faculty build skills to enjoy and take care of a
diverse community is vital to functioning effectively within a global society and
economy. Good examples of protecting diversity in Greensboro are when members of
the interfaith community accompany Muslim women to the grocery store and merchants
from many different backgrounds look out for one another at closing time.
Everyone is hurt and diminished when bullying occurs in Guilford County Public
Schools. An Iraqi family has concerns that their son feels he has to be complicit with the
abuse in order to get through the day. The family is very sad because they see their son
being diminished not only from the outside but also internally. Children and their families
are being called terrorists. Students are reporting bullying without interventions and
others are suffering in silence. Parents are concerned they are not being told the complete
At the most basic level, parents wants assurance that their children will be safe,
physically and emotionally, at school. Would you be willing to meet with us to: hear
parents’ concerns; develop a way to report bullying incidents; and assure that all children
who are being bullied are protected and given adequate emotional support from staff and
As a community, we are beginning an effort to track and document bullying cases and
how they are corrected. We would like for the school to: send a strong message that the
T-word is not OK; consistently correct hate speech and errors from prejudice; and clarify
that Islam is a religion. Hopefully, the facts and positive beliefs of the staff will set a tone
for what will be expressed by the students.
Thank you for your leadership, expertise, and concern for all children. Together, we can
make this better.
Badi M Ali