Jaime & Cassandra’s Story:
Should schools discuss discrimination?

Arab American students in public schools represent many countries. They share similarities with other groups, but also face additional challenges in a society which has dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, and stereotypes about terrorism.


Dearborn, Michigan, has the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States, and Jaime and Cassandra joined other students to lift their voices and take action on issues in the schools through workshops, assemblies. They and other students organized an unprecedented march and public demonstration for diversity and unity in the larger community.


They also worked with students and teachers to propose a new course on bridging differences through dialogues. They presented the course to the superintendent and school board, and received approval, thus creating an entirely new educational opportunity.

  • What is diversity? What are its benefits in education?
  • What is discrimination? Have you experienced or observed it in your school
  • Do students have a right to discuss these issues in school, and express themselves in the community?
  • Should your school have a permanent course for discussion? If not, what would it take to start one?
  • Can you visualize organizing workshops and assemblies in your school? What about a march and demonstration in the community? Why or why not?
Michigan Civil Rights Commission Resolution

“Michigan’s students should be educated on their social identity and that of others to effectively enable them to replace prejudice, bias, and stereotypes with acceptance, understanding and unity.”


“Michigan’s students should be provided educational opportunities that equip them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will prepare them to become the next generation of community leaders.”


“Michigan’s students should understand their right to assemble, protest, and/or organize community action projects, empowering students to protect themselves and others from injustices.”

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 29, The aims of education: The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own.


Coming Soon: Explore educational resources, curricular and course materials, learning activities, and lesson plans related to the topics in this story.