Pictured: Rana Khalaf
In partnership with the Islamic Schools League of America (ISLA), the Family and Youth Institute (FYI) is holding a Bullying Prevention workshop for the benefit of thousands of children who attend Islamic schools in the U.S., this Saturday.
The workshop organized by FYI, which conducts original research on the factors that promote or prevent the healthy development of families and especially impact young people, will be led by its Community Educator, Rana Khalaf, who says the main goal is awareness.
“The goal of this workshop is to educate and raise awareness about the different types of bullying, how to identify and intervene with each type and most importantly, how to proactively prevent bullying in Muslim learning spaces,” she said. “In this workshop, I will also be sharing additional resources that the FYI team has put together and continuously updates to teach and empower Muslim youth and families.”
Shaza Khan, the Executive Director of ISLA, said the organization’s research revealed bullying as a major theme across Islamic schools.
“Several participants of our research — alumni from full-time Islamic schools across the country — described instances of peer and teacher-initiated bullying. The instances of bullying described by the participants still had an emotional impact on them, years after having experienced it in their K-12 schools,” she said. “Many alumni also shared that they felt that their teachers and administrators were concerned about the bullying when it was reported, but they did not always have the tools and knowledge to adequately intervene.”
The main topics of the workshop will address bullying prevention and intervention, like empowering bystanders, supporting the victim and how parents can get involved. By providing parents and educators with solutions, Khalaf hopes fewer children may be impacted by bullying and escape the lasting trauma that is associated with it.
“Research shows that feeling safe is one of the most important (if not the number one) factors to enhance academic and social-emotional growth,” she said. “School communities, homes and the community at large need to work together to build those safe environments. And that entails that every person who is in contact in any capacity with our Muslim youth must be educated and aware of the importance of preventing bullying through positive practices, as well as skills and strategies to intervene and stop any aggressions in those spaces.”
Khan said ISLA partnered with the FYI as part of their own initiative to provide Islamic schools with the adequate resources they need to address the needs of parents and children.
“ISLA sought to partner with the FYI in providing this workshop to our networked schools as part of our ‘Research to Resources’ initiative, which was launched this past Ramadan and funded by generous donors across the country,” she said. “As we identify challenges faced by Islamic schools through our research, we are also seeking out ways to help the dedicated educators in these schools find solutions that they need. We are confident that this workshop will help Islamic school teachers and leaders begin to piece together the foundational knowledge and skills to identify, address and prevent bullying, inshallah.”
Khan also said ISLA plans to continue supporting Islamic schools through various resources and professional development workshops in the future.
The workshop will take place virtually this coming Saturday, October 30 at 10 a.m. (CST). Those interested can register for the event here. Individual registration is $20 and school registration is $100.