Here’s another one of those “only in Florida” stories, that, sadly, could happen anywhere in the nation anymore.
Talking Points Memo reports that a Weston, Florida, teacher has been accused of allegedly referring to a 14-year-old Muslim student as a “rag-head Taliban.”
The incident happened in the Broward County Public schools; the student, Deyab-Houssein Wardini, told the local news affiliate that “She [his teacher] said, ‘Oh no, the rag-head Taliban is here. She started saying it more frequently as if it was my name, and for around next two or three days she was just calling me ‘Taliban’ or ‘rag-head Taliban’ on and off.”
That’s professionalism for you.
What’s more staggering, however, is that the school district isn’t considering termination for this clearly All-American French teacher. Rather, the district’s superintendent has recommended a five-day suspension.
I suppose it’s better than three days detention and lunch room duty, but you’d think that racist slurs would rank a little higher than, say, acting up in class.
Deyab-Houssein’s father, Youssef Wardini, was naturally displeased with this outcome:
Five days suspension, that’s not acceptable. She either gets fired or suspended for one year without pay and we get a public apology.
The Broward County Public Schools, meanwhile, released a statement that read:
“Broward County Public Schools respects and values the diversity of our students, families and communities. This situation is being taken seriously; the District launched an immediate investigation into the matter and will be bringing forward, to the School Board in March, a recommendation for disciplinary action regarding this situation.”
Wardini spoke to the school board on Tuesday, and his case has garnered the attention of the right-wing’s favorite Islamic boogeyman group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The Florida branch hasn’t decided whether they’re going to pursue legal action against the district, according to the Sun-Sentinel, but there’s a chance that it might.
The teacher, Maria Valdes, 64, has been with the district since 2004 and doesn’t have any prior offenses on file. The Sun-Sentinel reports that she is still teaching at the district.