Teacher suspended in US for calling Muslim student a 'raghead Taliban'

Published: March 18, 2015
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Photo of Dayeb posted on a community page created on Facebook by his family. PHOTO:  facebook.com/JusticeForDH/timeline

Photo of Dayeb posted on a community page created on Facebook by his family. PHOTO: facebook.com/JusticeForDH/timeline

In another apparent case of racism in America, a teacher was suspended in Florida, USA, for five days after she called her Muslim student a ‘raghead Taliban’.

Maria Valdes, a French teacher, was suspended by the school administration after she called her 14 year-old student of Lebanese descendent Deyab Houssein Wardani a ‘raghead Taliban’. She made the comment when Deyab entered the class wearing a hoodie.

The subsequent administrative complaint alleged that this was not the first transgression, having addressed the student as a Taliban during class at least once while asking him asking him a question saying “Okay the Taliban, what is the answer?”.

Valdes, a teacher at the Cypress Bay High School, would often refer to Deyab as ‘Taliban’ or ‘Terrorista’ which means terrorist in Spanish.

“I would not expect this from a teacher, teachers are supposed to set an example for their students,” said Deyab.

Decrying the stereotyping of Muslims as terrorists, he said “It is very sad that people still think like that, that all Muslims are your average daily terrorist.”

Besides five days suspension without pay, Valdes will also have to undergo a diversity training programme.

However, Deyab’s father Youssef Wardani thinks that the five day suspension tantamount to ‘vacation’. The teacher should have been suspended for at least without pay – if not fired.

 

 

A message posted on a page set up by the Wardani on Facebook, ‘Our son is NOT a “Rag Head Taliban”’, reads that the message sent by the administration to all the bad teachers out there is clear, “Do whatever you want and get a vacation.”

Calling support from all other parents and teachers, the family urged them to send ‘a different message’ to the board for the sake of their children, adding that “Otherwise the next nationality and religion will be yours.”

 

 

Refuting the claims that the administration was lax in its response, Superintendent Robert W Runcie, who filed the administrative complaint after he was notified of Valdes’ alleged comments, said the matter was addressed with the ‘appropriate sense of urgency’.

Explaining the soft nature of penalty accorded to the teacher, the district administrators said the degree of punishment that could be leveled against Valdes was limited due to an agreement with the Teachers Union.

Youssef claimed that it was not the first time his son, who is half Lebanese and half Moroccan, has experienced discrimination.

In an interview with Sun Sentinal, he said that in the fourth-grade a school bus driver who knew Deyab was Muslim told him “We are going to wipe you off the face of this planet and turn you into dust and sand.”

Vowing to fight racism till his last breath, Youssef said he was not done fighting. “I promise you for the rest of my life, until my dying breath, I am going to make sure no child goes through what my son had to go through,” he said.

‘I promise you for the rest of my life, until my dying breath, I’m going to make sure no child goes through what my Deyab-Houssein had to go through,’ he told the Miami Herald.

On the other hand, Deyab said he is ‘very proud’ of his father, adding that although he is getting support from his peers, but now he feels a ‘strange vibe’ from his teacher as if “she does not want me to be there.”

But instead of taking it as negatively, Deyab took it as a challenge claiming that it is motivating him to work harder “To prove that I am not a random guy who you can call a Taliban.”

This article originally appeared on Daily Mail

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Naeem Khan
    Mar 18, 2015 - 10:19PM

    The teacher should have been fired and that is why the teachers union is giving such a bad name that some States are curtailing State Unions, we have seen it in Wisconsin and now Kansas is considering it. The cry of the State governments is that incompetent and racist teachers has no business teaching our kids and all State unions in different ways are hindrance to clean up the stable. In my opinion there is some justification to their thinking , this teacher is the prime example.Recommend

  • Mar 18, 2015 - 10:56PM

    I can’t believe the teacher has not been fired. It can’t get worse than this when it comes to unprofessional and highly objectionable behavior from a teacher.Recommend

  • Aftab
    Mar 19, 2015 - 12:16AM

    I wonder if the 5 days suspension would’ve been enforced if it was an anti-semitic slur, against a Jewish student.

    Hmmm, I thought not.Recommend

  • Puppet on a chain
    Mar 19, 2015 - 4:18AM

    Islamophobia. Stereotyping every muslim.Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Mar 19, 2015 - 9:33AM

    Perhaps she was calling out of joke…. having friendly relations with her students.Recommend

  • Ck
    Mar 19, 2015 - 10:20AM

    I really can’t understand why people with self respect decide to stick around in these kind of countries. I wouldn’t want to be around people who treat you like a 4th class citizenRecommend

  • Qadeer
    Mar 19, 2015 - 6:03PM

    This teacher must be fired. But are we going to fire the thousands of teachers who actively teach hatred in Pakistani schools. Are we going to close down the hate spewing Madrassas. Are we change the discriminatory laws in our own land. Before we condemn other countries lets first condemn our own miserable country. Recommend

  • Anwar
    Mar 19, 2015 - 8:18PM

    50-million discrimination lawsuit should be slapped on this French teacher n school. Also this teacher should be barred to teach in any civilized country. Recommend

  • Ram
    Mar 20, 2015 - 4:52PM

    @Mohammad:
    Yeah…like touching and groping a girl on a Mumbai bus in a group. You know, just being social.Recommend

  • Mar 22, 2015 - 9:39AM

    If she has the state of mind to call him Terrorist in French! It is not a joke. She confessed to everyone. The students confirmed it.

    Read I-3 and Supporting documents, please

    http://bcpsagenda.browardschools.com/agenda/00993/Agenda-Outline-for-2015-03-17-10-15.htm

    LIKE and SHARE

    https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForDHRecommend

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