The U.S. Department of Education will begin collecting data this year to track religiously motivated discrimination and bullying allegations from students.
“Students of all religions should feel safe, welcome and valued in our nation’s schools,” Catherine E. Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in an announcement.
The Washington Post reported that many students who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim have experienced bullying or bias in public schools. However, the Education Department’s initiative will protect all students, Christian, Jewish, atheist, etc. from bullying and harassment.
The decision was met with approval by the Muslim community.
“It [harassment] is creating a kind of toxic learning environment in which these students feel like they are under attack because of their faith,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The Post.