Addressing the Stigma: The Unvoiced Barriers to Muslim Arab Families’ Engagement in Their Children’s Education
Keywords:Muslim Arab families, engagement, stereotyping, stigma
The present phenomenological study examined the engagement experiences of five Muslim Arab parents in their children’s education and uncovered the current stigma against Muslim families, which negatively impacts their engagement in their children’s education. Identifying these needs and satisfying them will improve the educational experience for students of this minority and will ultimately lead to effective engagement with their families. Five emerging themes support this finding: neglecting to accommodate for religious sacraments, unmet hygienic jurisprudence needs, unsatisfied dietary needs, feeling unequal, and failed preparation for academic success. Based on these findings, this research calls for action agendas for reform and change by training school personnel to understand diverse students; adopting anti-bullying policies to counteract stereotyping; allowing students to perform their individual religious duties, which are well within their constitutional rights; and making dietary considerations and personal hygienic accommodations for Muslim children as a matter of social justice before we can even address their families’ engagement.