"What bad word?" I replied, puzzled, because there was nothing inappropriate in the video we had just watched.
"Muslim," the student answered.
Truthfully, my eyes filled up with tears. The third grade student meant no harm. They were not trying to be disrespectful or mean. They were asking a sincere question. It just made me sad that we live in a world that causes a third grade child to think such a thing.
I bring this to your attention because your third grader may come home talking about our discussion today. They may have more questions, or they may just want to talk. Here is a summary of my response:
"Muslim is not a bad word.
Do some Muslims do bad things? Sure.
Do some Christians do bad things? Sure.
Do some people who are Jewish do bad things? Sure.
Do some people who are Buddhist do bad things? Sure.
However, a person's religion does not determine if they are good or bad.
You can't judge a person based on their religion, just like you can't judge a person based on the color of their skin.
There are many wonderful people who are Muslim. There are many wonderful people who are Muslim. There are many wonderful people who are Muslim."
Throughout the year, we will spend time discussing stereotypes and treating all people in a kind and respectful way. In Room 221, we aim to be respectful of all people, from all backgrounds, religions, nationalities and skin color.
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.