I personally connect with many, many students every year. My classroom is full on every break and at lunch, all of us just talking; life, school, politics, nonsense, philosophy...
I'm not trying to claim a Teach of the Year Award. Our campus is full of teachers that bond with students on a daily basis.
Obviously, students that gravitate to me connect with something about me. And other students go to other teachers.
Christian? Great. There's a Christian Bible study that meets every week. Sponsored by a teacher.
Muslim? You've got a place to go also. Sponsored by a teacher.
Left? Right? There's a club for whatever your affiliation is. We had an Anarchist club a year ago (though surprisingly enough, they couldn't organize well enough to keep it going. And no kidding, the faculty advisor is a friend of mine....last name Bakunin. Too good to be true if you know your history).
Point being- a healthy, diverse environment will provide opportunities for anyone to connect. And the more diverse your faculty and student populations are, the less likely anyone gets left out.
And the best thing about it all? At the end of the day, we all share the same classrooms. I recently sat back and watched the most respectful and educational student-led exchange on religious beliefs between two relatively conservative Muslim girls from Pakistan and 3 other students from Guatemala, El Salvador, and the US. The discussion was centered on why one of the girls chooses to wear hijab and the other doesn't. One is Harvard bound, two are headed for UCLA, the others undecided. It's exchanges like this that give me hope for the future of this country.
Educational scenarios that allow students and teachers to retreat into homogeneous isolation are not conducive to producing thinkers for the world we live in.