U.S. Department of Education Wraps Up Week of Sessions and Actions to Address Alarming Rise of Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Anti-Arab Hate in Schools and Colleges

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U.S. Department of Education Wraps Up Week of Sessions and Actions to Address Alarming Rise of Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Anti-Arab Hate in Schools and Colleges

November 17, 2023

This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten, Under Secretary James Kvaal, and other U.S. Department of Education (Department) officials held a series of meetings and listening sessions to learn more about the growing concerns of antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and related forms of discrimination in schools. The Department also announced a series of actions to address these issues.

Today, Friday, November 17, Secretary Cardona traveled to New York City for a meeting with the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council and leadership from Interfaith America regarding interfaith cooperation in order to protect all students.

On Thursday, November 16, the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a list of the higher education and K-12 institutions under investigation for alleged shared ancestry violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Also on Thursday, November 16, Deputy Secretary Marten hosted a roundtable with eight principals and superintendents from across the country to hear about strategies being implemented on school campuses to combat hate. Principals represented elementary and secondary schools and superintendents were from a wide array of districts, small and large, urban and rural. All the participants highlighted the importance of creating a learning environment where all students feel safe and have a sense of belonging.

On Wednesday, November 15, Secretary Cardona, alongside other Biden-Harris Administration officials, met with Arab, Muslim, and Sikh community leaders to discuss Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and anti-Sikh bigotry, and related forms of hate in schools. Secretary Cardona unequivocally denounced Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-Sikh bigotry, antisemitism, and all forms of hate.

On Tuesday, November 14, Under Secretary James Kvaal hosted a similar listening session with leaders of twelve colleges and universities to hear about promising and effective strategies being implemented on campuses to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab hate since October 7. Participants represented institutions from across the country, including public and private institutions, two-year and four-year colleges, and urban and rural schools. All the institutions shared concerns about the physical and emotional safety of students, faculty, and staff. In addition, numerous best practices were shared that institutions can learn from and adapt to their own campuses. The Department will share these best practices more widely in coming weeks.

Also on Tuesday, November 14, the Department released a fact sheet announcing new tools to tackle antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab and related forms of discrimination and bias, including a newly released reminding PreK-12 schools and institutions of higher education of their legal obligations under Title VI, and a specialized collections of resources designed to help educators, students, parents, and community members promote religious inclusion and keep students safe from antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Arab, and related forms of discrimination.

The full announcement and related resources can be found here.