The family of a 12-year-old student in Texas are calling for a teacher to be fired after she allegedly called their son a terrorist. Waleed Abushaaban was watching Bend It Like Beckham with fellow students at First Colony Middle School last Thursday when the teacher made the troubling remark, KHOU reports. "We're in the class watching a movie," Waleed told reporters. "I was just laughing at the movie and the teacher said, 'I wouldn't be laughing if I was you.' And I said 'Why?'" According to Waleed, the teacher then said "because we all think you're a terrorist."
The English and Language Arts teacher has been removed from the classroom while school officials investigate the incident, a move considered by Waleed's family as nowhere near enough. "Just because my son is a Muslim doesn't mean he's a terrorist," Malek Abushaaban told KHOU. "He's an American. He's as American as anybody else. He was born here." In a press release issued last week and excerpted below, Fort Bend County school district officials distanced themselves from the alleged actions of the teacher by insisting the teacher in question did not exercise "the appropriate sensitivity" they expect of its educational staff:
While the teacher reports her statements were made in the context of trying to make a point about negative stereotypes, District officials do not believe that the teacher exercised the appropriate sensitivity expected of the District’s educators, and do not believe that the statements were made in a manner that is in keeping with the District’s Core Beliefs and Commitments.
In addition to the embarrassment of the teacher's public mockery, Waleed says fellow students immediately started teasing him with jokes about bombs. "I was upset and I felt like I was put in the corner and like everybody was just looking at me," the honor student told reporters. Sadly, this incident is far from the first of its kind. Last September, Ahmed Mohamed—a 14-year-old Muslim student at Irving MacArthur High (again in Texas)—was placed in handcuffs after school officials ridiculously claimed that his homemade clock resembled a bomb. The obvious Islamophobia of the incident, in addition to its general ridiculousness, inspired the supportive hashtag #IStandWithAhmed and a White House invitation from President Barack Obama.