It's difficult to assess three independent incidents and conclude a trend is brewing. However, public schools in the United States, Canada and England are battling efforts to add Muslim curriculum or to tolerate power plays by Muslim students and their parents.
Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state-funded Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in Minneapolis for violating the First Amendment's establishment clause. The school, founded and run by Muslim American Society (MAS) officials, "advances, endorses, and prefers the Muslim religion over other religions or nonsectarian approaches in connection with school activities and fosters entanglement between government and religion."
In England, a former school principal is seeking damages from a county council for what she considered to be harassment from the school's Muslim students and their parents. Erica Connor was accused of "racism and Islamophobia" in a petition seeking her ouster and claims to have been accosted by a group of Muslim students. The local education authority abandoned her, she claims in her litigation.
After an initial investigation cleared Connor of any wrongdoing, ongoing pressure prompted a second review. It found she "had not been responsive to the needs of the faith community."
Upon reading of the teacher's plight, Canadian writer Barbara Kay was reminded of a similar episode that happened to a friend of hers. Using a pseudonym, Kay describes a teacher, the child of Holocaust survivors, who taught at an Ottawa high school until 2004. She left because of ongoing harassment by Muslim students who figured out she is Jewish.
The teacher's complaints to her principal fell on deaf ears, Kay wrote.
"Conversely the principal admonished staff for every perceived slight to Muslim sensibilities. Miriam says that the principal insisted staff not look students in the eye, that they not gesture with their forefinger to indicate students should approach, and refused to act against Muslim students who were physically aggressive to male teachers (the principal was a woman)."
The teacher reached her breaking point after two students berated her with anti-Semitic taunts in front of her class:
"I don't have to listen to you - you are not a person, you are nothing, you are a Jew, you do not exist as a person."
The students were suspended, but then returned to the teacher's class. She took an early retirement rather than work in those conditions. According to Kay, 80 percent of the school's 75 teachers sought transfers that year.
Respect for others is obviously a vital part of an education. But so is respect for authority and the rule of law. Here's hoping these prove to be isolated events.