Ridgefield, NJ teen says teacher jokingly called him ‘terrorist’
RIDGEFIELD — A 17-year-old high school senior, who is Arab American, said he was told by his math teacher "we don't negotiate with terrorists” when he asked for an extension for an assignment.
The incident made Mohammed Zubi uncomfortable and he does not want to return to Ridgefield Memorial High School.
Zubi, who is captain of the school's boys' soccer team, told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that the teacher gave her answer loud enough for many in the class to hear. Some fellow students appeared to be in shock while others laughed, he said.
"I don't want to see anyone, and I've been in my room all day -- don't want to see my friends, especially after what that teacher said to me."
In a statement on its website the public school district said the teacher was immediately suspended after learning of the incident while an investigation is conducted. Law enforcement was also notified, according to the same statement.
“The district fully intends to pursue any and all legal remedies against the staff member as any discriminatory conduct has absolutely no place in our district,” read their statement, adding that it has no tolerance for any sort of discrimination against any student or staff member.
Stereotypes continue, CAIR-NJ says
President of the Council on American-Islamic Relations New Jersey, Salaedin Masksut, has called for the school to “investigate and take appropriate action” and introduce diversity training for its staff on his Twitter account.
"Two decades after 9/11 and we’re still seeing cases like this. It’s a shame. Perpetuating stereotypes against Arabs and Muslims is intolerable, especially in the classroom," Masksut said.
Earlier this month, a teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary School in the South Orange-Maplewood public school district was accused of pulling a hijab off the head of a second grader.
U.S. Olympic fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad, a Maplewood native, first posted about the incident on her social media.
Through her attorney, that teacher denied the accusation and said unspecified "activists" were pushing a false narrative.