Justice

Teacher Calls Muslim Student A "Terrorist" and Gets Canned

April 4th 2016

By:
Taylor Bell

A teacher is on administrative leave at a Texas middle school after she allegedly called a 12-year-old honors student a "terrorist" when he laughed during a class movie, BuzzFeed reports.

Waleed Abushaaban, a seventh grader at First Colony in Sugar Land, Texas, let out a chuckle in his class while he was watching the 2002 comedy "Bend It Like Beckham." That's when his English and Language Arts teacher made the unexpected, Islamophobic comment, Abushaaban's family said. They have asked for the teacher to be permanently removed from the school following the incident.Waleed Abushaaban

“We were in the class watching a movie,” Abushaaban told local network KHOU, “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.'”

Shortly after, the students followed suit and began to make Islamophobic jokes at Abushaaban's expense.

"They were like, ‘oh I see a bomb!’" Abushaaban told KOU. "And they started all laughing and making jokes. I was upset and I felt like I was put in the corner and like everybody was just looking at me."

The school district released a statement about the incident saying that they do “not support the teacher’s actions," and have since decided to temporarily remove the teacher from the school, the New York Daily News reported.

First Colony Middle School

“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.”

Based on the school district's statement, it is unclear whether the teacher meant the comment in a malicious way, but Abushaaban's family called for the teacher to be fired.

This incident comes nearly two weeks after more than 30 people died in a terrorist attack at an airport in Belgium, and three months after 14 people died in a separate terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

There have been other recent incidents of Islamophobia in schools.

In December 2015, all schools in Augusta County School District in Virginia were temporarily shut down after parents became outraged when a teacher gave her classroom an assignment featuring Islamic calligraphy.

World geography teacher Cheryl LaPorte was accused of indoctrinating students into the Muslim faith after she asked her students to copy an example of the Islamic statement of faith as a demonstration of Arabic calligraphy.

Although the assignment was followed the school's guidelines, the school received letters and angry phone calls from parents that forced the school district to shut down all of its classrooms and extracurricular activities. Immediately following the backlash, the school vowed to remove the assignment from their curriculum.