Near the start of each school year, many U.S. schools wrestle with how to teach about 9/11 – the deadliest foreign attack ever on American soil.
Virginia state's Department of Education recently hosted a speaker, described as an "education leadership scholar" who alleged that anti-Muslim sentiment rises around the anniversary of the attacks targeting the nation's political, military and economic centers that killed nearly 3,000 people.
The speaker, Amaarah DeCuir, delivered a PowerPoint presentation that insisted school and classroom 9/11 commemorations "are sites for increased anti-Muslim racism," the Daily Wire reported.
"This year's 20th anniversary commemorations will likely result in heightened risks of racist discourse, threats, and violence targeting Muslim students in schools and society," it states. "Educators are well-positioned to disrupt these risks by centering the socio-emotional needs of Muslims in their commemoration plans."
DeCuir presented a list of teaching standards that are "in" and "out."
"In" is "acknowledgment of anti-Muslim racism."
"Out," among others things, are the "false assumption of Muslim responsibility for 9/11" and "American exceptionalism."
She claimed examples of "harmful teaching" on 9/11 include "reducing 9/11 instruction to death counts and fear mongering," "teaching about Islam and/or Muslims" and "amplifying the extremists and extremist acts of 9/11."
A 2020 poll found that 51% of American Muslim families reported that their children experienced religious-based bullying – insults or physical assaults – in school. That’s nearly twice the rate reported by parents among the general public, the same poll found. Perhaps more disturbingly, 30% of those incidents reportedly involved a teacher or school official – the same people whom students ought to be able to turn to for support.
DeCuir also suggested teachers should not be "demanding the condemnation of 9/11" or "reproducing a single, American narrative that marginalizes other students."
The Daily Wire pointed out that DeCuir's bio from American University describes her as an education scholar who "focuses on the intersections of leadership, gender, and diverse cultural contexts to advance social justice."
On Twitter, she called on "antiracist" educators to help "disrupt" the current education of 9/11.
The Daily Wire reported Virginia State Senator Steve Newman condemned the presentation, urging educators instead to teach "the facts."
“I lived through 9/11," he said. " ... This one event was due to Muslim extremists and their actions, the desire of these individuals to kill as many Americans as possible at one time. Why do we need to change history, again? Just tell the facts,” Newman said.
The lawmaker stressed that children must be taught "the awful truth about the events of that day, and the evil intent behind the terrorists."