New Jersey Teacher Suspended After Telling Muslim Student, 'We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists'
"What other way could he have meant that?" 17-year-old Mohammed Zubi wondered, after the teacher said, “I didn’t mean it like that,” according to CNN.
A New Jersey teacher has been suspended after being accused of telling a student of Arab and Muslim descent “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” in response to a question posed in math class, according to the school district.
The unidentified teacher of Ridgefield Memorial High School then allegedly told 17-year-old Mohammed Zubi, “I didn’t mean it like that,” according to the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ).
"I'm looking around, at a loss for words, completely shocked," he told CNN, adding that the rest of his classmates also heard the statement. "In my head I'm just like, what other way could he have meant that?"
Zubi, a senior at the high school and captain of the soccer team, said he had asked the teacher for an extension on the homework last Wednesday when he was met with the shocking statement, according to CAIR NJ, the organization he first reported the incident to.
“This type of insensitive language by an authority figure is unacceptable because it perpetuates stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims,” said CAIR-NJ’s executive director Selaedin Maksut, adding that the organization has reached out to the school district to offer diversity training for its teachers and staff.
In a statement on its website, Ridgefield Public Schools said the teacher has since been suspended and they are continuing to investigate the incident.
“The Ridgefield School District has absolutely no tolerance for any sort of discrimination against any student or staff member. The District strives to create an inclusive environment where students’ and staff members’ race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation are embraced,” the school district said in a statement on its website.
The school district added authorities have been notified and they will be pursuing “any and all legal remedies against the staff member,” according to the statement.
Ridgefield Police told CNN they did not find any crime associated with the incident.
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