A school in Phoenix has become the subject of a complaint from The American Civil Liberties Union that alleges a teacher conducted a campaign of discrimination against a Muslim student, telling him, among other things, that he was “going to be the next terrorist.”
According to the complaint sent to both the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Education last Friday, the student, an 11-year-old refugee from Somalia who arrived in the U.S. in 2012, was forced to withdraw from the school along with his sibling in January.
A series of both physical and verbal abuse is alleged to have been directed at the pupil, named as A.A., by teacher Faye Myles at the Academy of Excellence in Phoenix during the 2015-2016 academic year. As well as linking him with terrorism and saying she couldn’t wait until he was deported under Donald Trump’s policies, Myles is said to have choked him round the neck.
“One day, when he continued to talk to a classmate, she walked over to him, grabbed him by the neck, and choked him tightly until his eyes began to water from the pain,” reads the complaint.
According to the ACLU’s letter, Myles did plenty to demonstrate why A.A. was being singled out for abusive treatment. After the class was shown a video clip of the terrorists who attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2011, she is alleged to have told the pupil, “that’s going to be you.”
While the child’s mother, Asli Noor, reported the choking incident to the Academy’s director, the ACLU says that she was told an investigation uncovered no wrongdoing. Other alleged incidents included A.A. being forbidden from praying at school, being told to “shut up” even as other students were allowed to speak and upon raising his hand in class being snapped at by Myles, who said, “all you Muslims think you are so smart.”
In another incident, Myles is said to have referenced Republican presidential candidate Trump, who during his campaign has called for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S.
“I can’t wait until Trump is elected,” the teacher told the student, according to the complaint. “He’s going to deport all you Muslims. Muslims shouldn’t be given visas. They’ll probably take away your visa and deport you. You’re going to be the next terrorist, I bet.”
Following those comments, A.A. was allegedly taunted by other students on the bus-ride home as being a “terrorist” and accused of trying to blow up the bus.
In January this year, when Moor again brought her complaints to Academy board member Brenda Nelson, she was told to “get your kids out of here,” and demanded that Moor sign withdrawal forms for her two children.
Attacks against Muslims in the U.S. have been on the rise in recent months. Indeed, they recently reached levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And ACLU attorney Heather Weaver believes that the heightened political rhetoric has played its part.
"We've also seen a rise in the number of complaints across the country of children in school being targeted because they are Muslim and immigrant," she said, reports NBC 12News in Arizona. "A large part is due to a lot of the rhetoric we've seen across the country."