As always, your childhood story rang a bell for me, Terry, except I was the weird kid - well, kinda. My family was one of the 3 Catholic families in our town. We had lots of Witnesses - they were considered odd but because of their numbers, better accepted. We Catholics were not. Particularly because the school lunchroom had to serve the hated fish sticks on Fridays because of us. We saluted the flag, of course - well, I did until I went through my political rebellious stage (which I have entered again in my waning years)- and we prayed but I crossed myself after prayers and that was considered very odd.
But, I wasn't withdrawn - quite the contrary. I was popular and well-liked, as were the other Catholic students. We were considered weird in our religion but normal in all other aspects.
We had no Jews in our Southern community, and I wonder how they would have been treated.
I can only imagine what it's like for Muslim or Sikh students these days, to name two religions that are unconventional by American standards. I would like to say that diversity training makes a difference, but I doubt it.
There is a Muslim high schooler in our neighborhood. She waits alone for the bus. By choice or not, I don't know. The others gather together while she stands far apart, only coming near when the bus is in sight. But, with all honesty, the other students are not very friendly with one another either. A couple of boys talk but most are scrolling their phones, ignoring one another. The Muslim girl sometimes talks on her phone as she waits, but I never see her scrolling mindlessly. I always wonder about her.