By Jawed Anwar
First time posted at dailymuslims.com on January 21, 2008
TORONTO District School Board (TDSB) finally took action after the murder of fifteen-year-old Jordan Manners who died from gun shot on May 23, 2007, at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate School, Toronto. Just a few months ago, a female Muslim student was sexually assaulted by six boys at this same school. TDSB established an enquiry commission under a panel of experts. Under the leadership of Lawyer Julian Falconer, the commission was expected to report on the violence and crime in C.W. Jefferys Collegiate and Westview Schools. Last week the commission completed its 1,000-page report “School Safety Issues across the Board.” Here are its findings:
Students and Guns, Weapons and Robbery.
18 per cent of Jefferys students and 15 per cent at Westview say they have been threatened with a weapon at school.
37 per cent of Westview students say they have been assaulted at school in the past two years.
22.5 per cent of Westview students say they have seen a gun at school in the past two years, and 5 per cent have seen a gun on four or more occasions.
11 per cent of Jefferys students and 10 per cent at Westview say they have been assaulted with a weapon at school in the past two years.
12 per cent of Jefferys students and 2.9 per cent at Westview say they have had a gun pointed at them in the past two years.
Staff and Safety:
22 per cent of the 51 Jefferys staff who responded say they feel unsafe at school.
94 per cent of students at both schools are not white; most teachers at both schools are.
86 per cent of Jefferys teachers report having seen drunk students, and 74 per cent at Westview.
40 per cent of Westview teachers say they have seen a student theft.
48 per cent of black students said they feel discrimination in marks and discipline; few teachers at either school said they believe racism is an issue.
39 Westview students (4.8 per cent of respondents) claim to belong to a gang; 93 (11.8 per cent) said they have been in the past.
Nearly 70 per cent of Westview gang members and 63 per cent at Jefferys say they have seen a gun at school in the past two years.
52 per cent of Westview students said they have seen a knife at school in the past two years, and 19 per cent say they have seen a knife on four or more occasions.
141 Westview students (16.4 per cent) admit they have brought a knife to school in the past two years, and 51 students (6 per cent) have done so "on many occasions."
73 students (8.5 per cent) have been threatened by someone with a knife at school.
19 per cent of female students at Jefferys and 7 per cent of females at Westview said they had been victim of a sexual assault at school in the past two years, with black and white girls victimized more often than those of Asian and South Asian background.
29 per cent of female students at Westview said they have experienced unwanted sexual contact (touching and grabbing) in the past two years.
This is a sample of what is really happening in the secular public schools throughout North America, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The panel stressed that weapons and violence in schools are rampant and "a city-wide reality." The panel also identified a "culture of silence," exemplified by the fact that eighty percent of students surveyed said they would not tell police or school officials if they were victims of violence. Some teachers are reluctant to report what they see for fear of "political or bureaucratic reprisal, or both." At one school, forty-one percent of staff were worried about being shot or attacked with a weapon, and an almost identical proportion were concerned about being robbed by a student at school.
This report, which makes 126 recommendations, is a stinging indictment against the Toronto District School Board and its senior administrators who have roughly 250,000 students at their responsibility.
The following are the top four recommendations the panel has made:
More teachers supervising in halls.
More adults in the schools, from hall monitors and social workers to attendance counselors and youth workers, and more teachers in high-needs areas to allow for smaller classes.
All students should wear uniforms unless a school council opts out.
Board-owned, firearms scent dogs should be used for regular random searches for guns in lockers.
All the analysts believe that the recommendations are not practical and that the price tag is too high. These recommendations were made by a panel of people who are the product of the same system of education. They are intellectually incapable of understanding the problem in depth or of bringing new ideas and presenting viable solutions. Only those people who can think outside the box and who have a deep understanding of religion, history, culture, society, and education system can come up with the solutions.
The same is true for our politicians. Their minds are incapable of understanding the root of the cause. Consider the following two statements of two “mature” politicians of the city:
1. “If there are people who are experiencing violence, or are afraid to talk about violence that they are experiencing, that's unacceptable. Is it my experience that there's a pervasive culture of fear or violence in the Toronto board? No, that is not my personal experience.” -Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, commenting on this report.
2. “Our whole approach to community safety is exactly that, building partnerships in neighborhoods. That's why our recreational strategy, for example, significantly increases the access to recreational programs of people of low income, very dramatically. All governments, and the private sector and the non-profit sector have a role to play.” -Toronto Mayor David Miller
Our Four Recommendations Should be as follows:
End co-education and design same-sex schools. Different surveys and studies prove that co-education (combining girls and boys in the same classes) allows an environment leading to most crimes. TDSB should partition the current schools in two parts. Separate classes for boys and girls will significantly help to reduce crime. Future schools should be designed specificially for girls or boys.
Bring religious values into the schools. Stop teaching secularism (God-less education), and stop teaching the theory of Darwinism as if it were factual. When you teach students that they are sons and daughters of apes, then you can expect them to act like monkeys instead of civilized human beings. Most religions of light teach that we are all sons and daughters of original parents, known in many religions as Adam and Eve. God created the first person Adam (peace upon him) as a messenger and prophet of God. He was a responsible person, a man of character. Teach the students that they are sons and daughters of an honest and responsible person, a messenger of God. Teach the students about the Virgin Mary (Marium in Arabic; Miriam in Hebrew) (peace upon her). She was a pious and virtuous woman. Hijab (or modest dress) was the tradition of Mary, and now only practicing Muslims, Christian nuns, and some religious Jews follow the tradition of Hijab. Other religions, including Hindu, believe in such modesty. According to a Hindu story, Ravan kidnapped Seeta, the wife of Ram (Aryan Hindus’ most respected religious person). As the story explained in Ramayan, Ravan didn’t see anything of Seeta except her feet. That means that Seeta was covered by veil. Teach students about Jesus (peace upon him). He never exploited women and taught that sex is only permissible within marriage. Follow the dress codes and lifestyles of Ram, Seeta, Guru Nanak, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mary, and Muhammad, Ali, Ayesha, and Fatima (peace and blessings upon all the prophets, and may God be pleased with His servants). Diminish the influence of Hollywood and Bollywood garbages, filthy-mouthed rappers, writhing pop rockers, and strutting models barely clothed. All universal religions have consonant messages of peace, unity, harmony, charity, modesty, patience, and goodwill. An educational system that leaves its students ignorant of the religions that have shaped history and continue to impact our world is indeed an inferior educational system.
Create positions for religious teachers and trainers. Appoint religious teachers and trainers according to religious backgrounds and beliefs of student groups in each particular school. Religious teachers should be responsible to shape the character of students and their moral development. They should also be responsible to develop a religious, communal, and ethnic harmony in the students that will shape a national character of Canada.
If the TDSB, or any other education board of North America, cannot or will not implement the above mentioned recommendations, the board should give up its responsibility and allot and distribute the school budget to different religious communities (including non-believers or atheists) to use according to their population so that they could mange their education themselves. They will be able to educate and discipline their students much better than public secular education.
Muslim parents should demand above mentioned recommendations from the teachers (in all parent/teacher meetings), principals, school board leaders and executives, and politicians. Education minister of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, has been supported by several Masajid officials and active members of Muslim community and have been re-elected recently from a constituency where a large number of Muslim voters live and voted for Ms Wynne. Why do Muslims not ask her to implement Muslim needs of education? Unfortunately, a large number of Muslims don’t know even their need of education and how secular public schools are de-educating, brainwashing, making criminals, and changing the character of their children contradictory to their beliefs, faiths, and traditions, and overall making them dumb and dull.
Muslims parents, community leaders, and activists should wake up now and struggle in all four fronts: 1. Change the system and character of public education system; 2. Develop and build an alternate and affordable education system for full time schools; 3. Develop a comprehensive after-school system; 4. Organize the Parents for Community Home Schooling in Masajid, Islamic centers, and homes.