(Image Screen grab)
Elham Asaad Buaras
The family of a Muslim schoolboy who was called a “terrorist” by his English teacher in front of his classmates has called for her expulsion.
Waleed Abushaaban, a student at Texas based First Colony Middle School, said, “We’re in the class watching a movie. And I was just laughing at the movie and the teacher said, ‘I wouldn’t be laughing if I was you.’ And I said why? She said ‘because we all think you’re a terrorist’.”
The 12-year-old said he was distraught by the insult from his teacher and bullying that had ensued on March 31.
Abushaaban said his teacher’s outburst led some classmates to immediately taunt him shouting insults such as, “You have bombs” and “I can see the bombs.”
“I was upset, and I felt like that they all were looking at me and they were laughing at me,” said the Year 8 student.
“Just because my son is a Muslim doesn’t mean he is a terrorist,” said Malek Abushaaban, Waleed’s father. “He’s as American as anybody else. He was born here … that’s all he knows is how to be an American.”
The family is also calling for the school to get religious sensitivity training. Husein Hadi, the family’s attorney, said they wanted to raise awareness about discrimination.
“Her one statement, out of line, out of context, provided a reaction from kids who don’t know any better,” Hadi said.
Fort Bend Independence School District (ISD) officials acknowledged the comment was insensitive and described it as an “isolated event.”
ISD also said they “immediately removed the teacher from the classroom” and put her on paid leave, pending a review.
“While the teacher reports her statements were made in the context of trying to make a point about negative stereotypes, district officials do not believe that the teacher exercised the appropriate sensitivity expected of the district’s educators, and do not believe that the statements were made in a manner that is in keeping with the district’s Core Beliefs and Commitments,” the statement read.