A Florida high school teacher has been suspended from her position, after allegedly calling a 14-year-old Muslim student, “rag-head Taliban.”
When the teacher, Maria Valdes, saw Deyab-Houssein Wardani enter her French class at the Cypress Bay High School, wearing a hoodie, she said to him, “Oh, no, the Taliban is here,” to which Wardani told reporters, “at first I took it as a joke because I didn’t really know what Taliban was. I raised my hand, and she said, ‘Yes, Taliban,’ and everyone just kind of laughed.”
For the next few days the teacher, who was accustomed to nicknaming some of her students, continued calling Wardani “Taliban.” When he got home one day after school, he asked his parents what the word meant as he himself wasn’t sure.
Youssef Wardani, the boy’s father and a Lebanese immigrant, told reporters, “He’s a 14-year-old boy. He should not have to worry about these kind of actions from a teacher in a class in a school and in a state that advertises diversity.”
While the teacher, Mrs. Valdes, admitted to calling the boy the alleged names, she also said that she hadn’t meant any offence to him, and was sorry that she had caused it.
As Mr. Wardani noted though, on his Facebook page, when he confronted the French teacher regarding the name calling he said, “She responded with huffing and puffing accompanied with rolling eyes and arrogance. She showed no remorse whatsoever!”
Meanwhile, Broward County Public Schools has launched an investigation into the matter, having said in a statement, “This situation is being taken seriously. The district launched an immediate investigation into the matter and will be bringing forward to the school board in March a recommendation for disciplinary action regarding this situation.”
Valdes has worked in the public school system in the district for 11 years, and has never had previous disciplinary action taken against her.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons/Hopehua]