A North Carolina elementary school teacher allegedly singled out and harassed a five-year-old student because he is Muslim.
Charlotte’s public school system is investigating allegations that the teacher at David Cox Road Elementary School has assaulted the student since the beginning of the school year.
The teacher at one point grabbed the student by the neck and called him a ‘bad Muslim boy’ multiple times over several weeks, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on Wednesday.
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Charlotte’s public school system is investigating allegations that a kindergarten teacher singled out a five-year-old student for harassment because he’s Muslim
‘During the first two months of the school year, (the Muslim student) was subjected to relentless bullying and harassment not only by his classmates, but by (the teacher), a letter detailing the allegations written by CAIR lawyer Maha Sayed, said.
The harsh treatment by the teacher made the boy fearful of coming to school, the letter dated Monday said.
‘For example, she would routinely single out (the student) from his classmates and require him to carry a heavy backpack throughout the day… which caused (the student) to develop significant back pain,’ Sayed wrote in the letter.
The boy’s mother had a meeting about his treatment with the principal and guidance counselor, and the principal placed him in another teacher’s classroom in October, according to the letter.
The boy continued to encounter the teacher he had complained about, Sayed said.
On November 16, the teacher in the complaint approached the boy in his new classroom, ‘grabbed him by the neck and began choking him,’ Sayed writes, noting that the boy was ‘crying and extremely shaken’ afterward.
The teacher at one point grabbed the student by the neck and called him a ‘bad Muslim boy’ multiple times over several weeks, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on Wednesday
The boy’s new teacher had to separate him from the teacher who grabbed him, the letter said.
The district is investigating and takes the allegations detailed by CAIR in the letter seriously, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spokeswoman Renee McCoy said.
She said she could not comment further, partly because many employees are out for Thanksgiving.
CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, seeks to have the student transferred to a safe classroom ‘free from discrimination and retaliatory actions’.
It also wants a comprehensive investigation of the allegations, disciplinary actions against all those involved found guilty of misconduct and cultural and religious diversity training for all of the school’s staff.
Sayed’s letter was addressed to Rebecca Garland, North Carolina’s deputy superintendent of public instruction.
It asks for an investigation and disciplinary action against the teacher, possibly including termination or rescinding her teaching license.
Jibril Hough, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte (pictured), said the allegations are all the more shocking because they involve someone in a leadership role over children.
Garland said in an email on Wednesday that she received the letter, which is being reviewed by a staff attorney for the Department of Public Instruction.
A Charlotte police spokesman said the department did not have any reports on the allegations.
The teacher accused in CAIR’s letter did not immediately respond to email or phone messages.
The Associated Press is not naming her partly because she has not been charged with a crime.
Jibril Hough, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, said the allegations are all the more shocking because they involve someone in a leadership role over children.
‘Teachers have to stand up,’ he said. ‘The people in leadership have to stand up and squash it and don’t allow it.’